MYO Muscle is a health hack capable of monitoring the strength of users’ muscle groups while they engage in various stretches and strength resistance routines. MYO Muscle tracks an individual’s progress in muscle strength over time, and communicates this information to the patients in real-time.
Muscular dystrophy affects more than 50 thousand people in the United States. Arthritis affects 40 million people. And men and women begin to lose muscle just after age 30, causing many of them to experience pain by their elder years. For those who suffer from muscle ailments, getting up from bed is difficult. Visiting their doctors in order to constantly monitor their progress is both physically exhausting and incredibly costly. For doctors, it becomes difficult to prescribe various treatments for these muscle ailments and identify which treatments are more effective than others, especially when it becomes infeasible for doctor and patient to meet on a short-term basis. Through MYO Muscle, we provide a unique method of allowing for patients to monitor their own progression and growth when it comes to muscular growth.
What it does
MYO Muscle employs the MYO Armband, a wearable-tech device that can measure the strength of electrical impulses in order to accurately predict muscle strength. The adjustable armband grips comfortably on one’s arms or legs and avoids the hassle of connecting electrodes to one’s body in order to gather data. The user must engage in a simple resistance exercise that provides information about a certain muscle group. For example, gripping a bottle as tight as possible helps the app approximate forearm strength. The app collects 2400 data points from the 8 sensors over the 3 second time period of the test. It then presents the average of this data on a graph along with the other averages from the past to help the user visualize his or her progress over time.
How we built it
The application was built for Android devices, and therefore we built the majority of it using JAVA. Through JAVA, we built the UI, which guides the user through connecting the application to the MYO Armband via Bluetooth. We utilized an open-source project from Nicola Corti that output the raw data from the electric signal sensors on the MYO Armband to the application. We then created a database where we stored all the information gathered and used SQL to request information from it to present to the user.
Challenges we ran into
Managing to connect the Armband and our application through Bluetooth proved to be one of the most challenging and frustrating tasks along with properly organizing the data and pulling it from the database.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
We are quite proud that we managed to fully integrate the MYO Armband with our application, and make sense of the raw data that was output. Initially, the data was completely unstructured, but by testing the output of all the sensors from the Armband, we were able to understand what each data point that it output represented.
What we learned
From a software development aspect, we learned that creating apps that interact with hardware is much harder than it looks. While initially we thought that simply taking sensor data would be easy, and portioned less time towards it than we should have.
From the experience, we learned that sometimes, all it takes is a little luck and one event to go your way to get you going. Even though we felt really low after spending multiple hours dealing with bugs, the moment we saw that our armband was transmitting data properly, the feeling of exhilaration and positivity was amazing.
Lastly, we were truly happy that we found a use for the MYO hardware that would positively impact people’s lives. Aiding people in coping with their ailments, even in the smallest of ways, brings about positive change in this world.