A Sunderland technology company is aiming to reduce levels of heart disease by combining gym equipment with computer games to make exercise enjoyable.
AiDEPT (Advanced Interactive Digital Exercise Prescription Technology) is spinout from north east digital innovation centre Codeworks, which provided £150,000 in funding and helped steer the company’s development. It is developing advanced prescription-based interactive exercise software to create a fitness experience that combines virtual reality videogames with a gently progressive cardiovascular workout tailored to a person’s physical ability.
Herb Kim, CEO of Codeworks, said: ‘AiDEPT has the potential to change people’s attitude to exercise, and could therefore have a profound effect on death rates from major health problems such as heart disease. The technology effectively provides a personal virtual trainer that physically and mentally stimulates you.’
The AiDEPT venture is forecast to be worth over £10m in three years. The company is partnering with a leading European gym equipment manufacturer that recognises the commercial potential of a progressive cardiovascular exercise programme.
The manufacturer is using a modified version of one its exercise bikes combined with a digital computer gaming element designed by AiDEPT to make exercise fun and engaging for users.
They believe it could have a positive impact on gym attendance, and want to find out how effective it is compared to their current equipment and what the most cost-effective game content would be for its core gym market.
AiDEPT’s exercise gaming software was prototyped on a bike with 22 adults aged between 50 and at Teesside University’s Sports Exercise department.
The next stage of the project involves further study using a second-generation prototype bike and a series of six game demos to test the system’s capabilities. AiDEPT is also in discussions with Clinical Researchers from James Cook University about a partnership that could see the creation of applications for the medical sector.