Wearable Tech World Feature Article
December 09, 2014

Performance Lab's ARDA Coaching Engine Puts Workout Feedback in Wearables

It's easily one of the toughest parts of exercise, beside the obvious troubles associated with making it a habit. Specifically, that tough part is the sheer isolation of a workout. It can be hard to figure out if it's even being done the right way, and getting positive feedback as well can be tough to come by. But New Zealand's Performance Lab may have a bit of help coming to all those solo workout buffs out there in the form of the ARDA Coaching Engine, a new tool that will put valuable feedback into a wearable device.

The ARDA Coaching Engine, according to reports, allows users to not only collect information about physical activity, but also include things about the conditions under which said activity was performed; things like terrain, weather, overall speed of movement and the like. It can collect data on things that connect to the workout peripherally, like issues of recent performance, as well as sleep and even overall fatigue in the central nervous system. This combination of factors going into the data allow the user to get a much better overall picture of what's going on in the user's workout.

But the ARDA Coaching Engine goes one step farther. While many wearables will collect data and return it to the user, the ARDA engine will do some evaluation accordingly, and provide audio and visual advice that allows the user to further improve performance from its current levels. With the ARDA engine's ability to gather data, it can not only tell that a user is cycling instead of walking or swimming, but can tell if that user is cycling on a grade, and under what kind of terrain. That means the user can get the most accurate picture of a user's workout possible, and without having to tell the ARDA engine just what it was that was being done. The ARDA engine in turn can more readily tell what the user's doing, and in so doing be able to tell what the user's doing wrong, a valuable development for the user who just wants to put in the workout.

Reports suggest that the ARDA Coaching Engine is sufficiently powerful enough to be able to issue advice like—and reports suggest this is verbatim—“You'll need to take the next hill faster than you did yesterday” and “Your legs are a bit tired—I suggest an easier workout next time to recover.”

That's some extremely detailed analytical capability right there, and the kind of thing that those getting started in a workout regimen would likely very much welcome. It's not that experienced athletes wouldn't find this valuable, either—such athletes likely would—but for the early starter, this is the kind of thing that might well make the difference between sticking with a workout and just letting it go. Considering that Performance Lab has already offered up its training tools to world champions and world record holders alike across a variety of sports ranging from triathletes to rugby players and beyond, it's clear that the company has a lot to offer in this sector for the regular joe-or-jane just getting  started.

ARDA Coaching Engine tools are expected to be out starting in early 2015, so we'll likely see sooner rather than later just what kind of impact these have. It's hard to imagine, though, circumstances in which these tools don't end up proving helpful for the runners, bikers and other athletes out there.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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