Smart running track monitors performance

China Daily | 2017-05-18 07:17

Smart running track monitors performance

Joggers enjoy a run on the smart track on Chongming Island, Shanghai.[Photo provided to China Daily]

A smart running track equipped with high-tech devices such as a facial recognition system and heart rate monitors has been unveiled at Mingzhuhu Park on Shanghai's Chongming Island.

The track, an 8-kilometer circuit around a lake, consists of two types of surfaces: 6,800 meters of plastic and 700 meters of red asphalt. It also features a wooden pontoon section over water that measures 500 meters.

Chen Zhixian, a manager at Chongming Shanghai Tourism Investment Development Co, which developed the track, said the facial recognition device uses two cameras to calculate a runner's average speed over certain distances. The system is similar to the one used in point-to-point speed cameras on highways.

"The facial recognition technology ensures fair competition for runners, as it prevents them from taking shortcuts to gain an advantage over rivals," he said.

"In addition to the eight facial recognition devices, we have also integrated other new technologies in the track, such as an automatic water mist machine to help cool down the runners and heart-rate testing devices to monitor the runners' physical condition. They will be put to use soon."

HuangLing, deputy general manager of the company, said on Wednesday that the debugging operation of its eight facial recognition devices was complete, and the devices will start to be used in June after receiving feedback from participants in a running festival that started on Sunday. The festival will continue until May 27.

"It's the first smart track to open in Shanghai-an integration of new technology with the environment. A run around the lake takes about one and a half hours to finish, with the great scenery and fresh air of Chongming Island for companionship," she said.

The track has received an overall positive response from the public, with thousands of online reservations made for Sunday's opening.

"The track is gorgeous," said Sun Yi, who took part in the festival on Wednesday. "Woods, water and scenery are perfectly integrated. That gives me a totally different experience of jogging. It distinguishes the track from other running paths in the city." He said he looked forward to using the high-tech devices.

The track will open to the public next month, after the festival closes. Users will pay 30 yuan ($4.40) to use the track and will be granted free entrance into the park.

Cheng Si contributed to this story.

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