Inspiration:

As runners, we know the importance of pace. Running above your pace will make you tired and running too slow will add time.

There are many running apps that track distance, time and pace but all of them require the user to slow down, unlock their phone, open the app and check the phone mid run to see this information. Some apps use the audio features to update the runner but have non-adjustable settings for the alert periods, generally every 1 mile.

Although it seems like a small problem, it is one that causes frustration to runners everyday.

What it does:

Lace Up solves this problem head-on. Using the phone’s pedometer, speaker and vibration tools, the app updates the users pace every step and lets them know if they deviate significantly from their goal pace over a notable period of time.

Lace Up also lets the user set alert periods for every run. At the end of every alert period, in distance and time, the app will read the distance, time and average pace till that point.

Lastly, Lace Up records all of the users previous runs and uses the runner’s average pace from the previous run to suggest songs that are in a corresponding beats per minute range. It even users the phone’s current location to show running trails nearby.

How we Built It:

The app was built using MIT App Inventor. The app largely relies on the pedometer objects which is used to calculate the pace, speed and distance of the runner at any given time.

Challenges we ran into:

One significant problem we ran into was with making the distance, time and pace on the “Race” page truly instantaneous. The GPS object, which we worked on initially, was designed for car and could not work well with paces slower than a 6 minute mile.

This made it hard to calculate accurate pace for jogging or walking paces and made it impossible to get a instantaneous calculation using the “.locationchange” method which only updated every 0.1 mile.

After experimenting with other possibilities, we decided to use the pedometer object. This object calculated the stride length of the person and counted the number of steps they took. Our algorithm uses this pedometer, in combination with the timer, to calculate the pace which is updated every step. Accomplishments were proud of: Given the many challenges we faced in trying to build the “Race” page without a functioning GPS or timer object, we are proud that we were still able to use our programming skills and creativity and still make it happen. The app is able to get the pace, update continuously and let the user know if they have deviated significantly.

What we learned:

This experience taught us about the importance of critical thinking skills and has sparked our interest in the mobile app development process. Building this app was a challenge but we were able to think creatively to solve major problems and make a functioning app!

What’s next for Lace Up:

We have many new improvements in mind for Lace Up. First off, we want to add a map display to show the user where they are and track their path along with charts that show the users pace. These can help the user see their performance and improve upon it. Furthermore, adding a points system could improve our app and allow the user to compete with others. The user would gain points for staying on pace and completing runs and would be motivated by friendly competition to do even better.

After this, we look to develop Lace Up for apple devices and launch it on the Google Play Store and the App Store.

Check out our portfolio with reflection and user manual using this link:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1zuGoDEzmPMoFtIArpl2a8nFlfPBiDlJfBkV0XonEZXw/edit?usp=sharing

Try it out:

Download on MIT App Inventor Gallery using this link: ai2.appinventor.mit.edu/?galleryId=6599728611590144

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