If being chased by imaginary zombies doesn’t speed up your run, you may need to take more drastic measures—like rewarding yourself with chocolate. EdiPulse, a project from Rohit Ashok Khot, Ryan Pennings, and Florian "Floyd" Mueller at Exertion Games Lab in Australia, combines the wearables trend with 3D printing in order to gamify exercise and produce visible rewards.
The EdiPulse uses a Polar heart rate monitor that measures beats per minute, and sends that information through to a mobile app. The data gets saved on the Polar website, and once the workout is complete, the app translates the data for the 3D food printer. The printer then prints either a chocolate message or emoticon. The harder you work, the thicker the chocolate.
In order to determine the number of chocolate layers printed, heart rates are divided into four zones: very light activity, light activity, moderate activity, and hard activity. If your heart rate stays between 50 and 70 BPM— generally considered a normal resting heart rate—you’ll get one layer of chocolate. From 71 to 110 BPM, you get two layers; 111 to 140 BPM results in three layers; and 141 to 180 rewards you with four.
Each activity zone also corresponds with a different emoticon. Maintaining a steady workout in the hard activity zone rewards you with a much-deserved giant smile or a cheerful message. But stay in the very light zone, and you’ll get a frown.
When the 3D printer randomly selects a cheerful message instead of an emoticon, the message’s length varies by your workout time. Workout duration is divided into 5 minute intervals, and each interval equals one printed letter. So if you work out for 30 minutes, you’ll get the first 6 letters of a message like “Well done, Mate!”
The intention behind EdiPulse is to encourage exercisers through a tangible final product. While knowing that you’ll get more toned may enough to push you to actually use that gym membership, others might need an instant visual to keep them going.
And don't worry: The developers kept in mind the calories and sugar content and measured out the chocolate dosage so eating the reward won’t negate the workout.
While the project report [PDF] says that people may end up giving the chocolate away or throwing it out, it seems hard to imagine that anyone who would buy the EdiPulse wouldn’t want to eat their hard-earned candy.