One activity has been the bane of the treadmill runner’s existence for some time now—reading while getting their workout in. There just never seems to be a good way to read and run at the same time, until now that is. There has been a new development in the realm of reading while on a treadmill and it may be just the solution treadmill lovers were looking for to integrate some reading time into their workout.
No More Bouncing Words
If you have ever tried to read on a treadmill you know it is no easy feat—if you hold the book in your hand you are not running as efficiently as you could be and if you leave it on the treadmill it looks as though the text is bouncing all over the page as you keep your stride. This may all be a thing of the past though as Business Insider reported that an engineer out of Purdue University in Indiana has developed a new system that steadies the words, allowing you to jog or run as much as you want while still being able to read the text on the page.
The new system, ReadingMate, works by adjusting the text on the monitor to counteract the bobbing motion of the head as you run. This makes the words appear to remain still even though they are moving to match your stride. How exactly can the text keep up with your movements, you may be wondering—it does so by using an infrared camera that tracks the movements of a set of infrared lights attached to a pair of goggles the runner wears, according to the Business Insider report.
Pairing Science With the Functionality of the Human Body
Another report from CNet explains that the goggles and camera alone cannot make the text appear perfectly, as the individual’s eyes will already be naturally making efforts to stay focused on the words on the page. To combat that and work in sync with the eyes, ReadingMate’s algorithm moves the text slightly out of sync with the bobbing of the runner’s head. That motion coupled with the eyes’ efforts makes the text appear still and allows the runner to read with ease. The success of this system has been studied in depth, and the results of the study will appear in the upcoming issue of Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
There is no telling how many treadmill runners will take advantage of this new technology or if and when it would be available to the general public. There are, however, high hopes that this system will be beneficial for runners.
Heather B is an avid runner and enjoys reading while working out. She wanted to share this information with others who enjoy reading while running.