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Phone app providing real-time statistics on physical activity around the world
Date:2/9/2010

HOUSTON, February 8, 2010 An iPhone application created by UH researchers is providing first-of-its-kind real-time statistics of physical activity around the world. Those annual rankings of America's fattest and fittest cities that use government statistics and a host of indirect indicators may soon have a little more muscle. The information being collected at the University of Houston provides objective data.

The Walk n' Play iPhone application, available free from Apple's "App Store," allows users to keep track of their physical activity and compete with other users. The latest version lets players compare themselves to various profiles that represent a region or a skill level. It helps individuals and groups to connect around the concept of daily physical motion similar to a real-time Twitter where your feet do the tweeting.

According to Ioannis Pavlidis, Eckhard Pfeiffer Professor of Computer Science and lead investigator in the Walk n' Play project, anonymous data from Walk n' Play users is sent to a server at UH's Computational Physiology Lab. The data includes physical activity, the intensity of activity and the geographic region of the player. Using the information, researchers are able to objectively measure physical activity and break down the data by location. Pavlidis believes the applications for the technology are far reaching and will result in real-world data that has previously been difficult to collect.

"The implications of the technology are far reaching, not only for developing a healthier lifestyle, but also for doing science using novel data gathering techniques I dare to say it is a paradigm shift," he said.

"We have a real-time sense of how active people are around the country and the world throughout the day. People in New York appear to walk a lot, but people in Houston are not as bad as we thought. These are not all the people, of course, only those who use the Walk n' Play app. Still, there are thousa
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Contact: Shawn Lindsey
selindsey@uh.edu
713-743-5725
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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