UH Moment

UH Moment: “Walk ‘n Play”

Cool gadgets and games have a way of making even the most arduous tasks fun. One University of Houston professor harnesses that fun for a serious project. Listen to this week’s UH Moment.

A new application for your iPhone monitors your physical activity and counts the calories you’ve burned—just by keeping it in your pocket.  It’s called Walk ‘n Play and was developed by UH Professor Ioannis Pavlidis, director of the Computational Physiology Lab, post doctoral researcher Pradeep Buddharaju and doctoral student Yuichi Fujiki. To date more than 2,000 people around the world are using it.

Professor Ioannis Pavlidis“You keep the phone in your pocket and it records every little motion you do and translates it into kilo-calories,” said Pavlidis.  “The game is played in bouts of 24 hours, so every 24 hours the game tallies up everything.”

The free application allows you to monitor yourself or compete against other iPhone users, whether your competitors are in the next room or on the other side of the world. 

Currently, the information is not monitored, but Pavlidis says the next phase of the program will ask permission to keep track of the data. He says using technology in this manner can be used to monitor human activity patterns on a large scale and model them mathematically, which is useful in researching obesity, energy consumption or massive emergency responses.

“But also it has an adherent scientific value, which helps us understand a little better about who we are and what we have become,” Pavlidis said.    

The Computational Physiology Lab is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.

Telling the stories of the University of Houston, this UH Moment is brought to you by KUHF, listener supported radio from the University of Houston.