Summer Blog #1

So this summer I am taking a couple of summer courses as well as working part time with Shayan on MuscleMemory. The MuscleMemory Bluetooth Application aims to improve communication between coaches and athletes in a group-based exercise setting by providing real time feedback on athletes’ squat performance on their mobile devices. The part that I am focusing on is actually building the Knee Brace which consists of a Flora Board, 4 neopixel lights, an Adafruit Bluetooth LE, a Bend Sensor, and a button. The way that the knee brace works is first the athlete squats to proper depth and pushes the button to save a value based on their squat depth. Then, as the athlete performs a squat, the neopixel lights change colors from red to green based on how far the bend sensor value is in relation to the saved threshold value set from the first squat.


Before I can actually start building the knee brace, I need to build a functional bend sensor. The bend sensor is made using neoprene, velostat, conductive fabric, conductive thread, and interfacing. Following the Bend sensor instructable, I have assembled numerous bend sensors; however, I cannot get any of them to work properly. When the bend sensor is connected to the flora board, the serial monitor prints values that don’t seem to have a trend, they are more sporadic. We also tested the code on one of Kim’s bend sensors that she created when she was working on this project, and we ran into the same issue. I am not sure if the problem lies in the actual construction of the bend sensor, or if the code that we are using is flawed.


As soon as I can fix the issue with the bend sensor, I will be able to start building the knee brace. I do not think building the actual knee brace will be that difficult once I can get past getting building the bend sensor.


Another component of the MuscleMemory project is building a database to store data for a user study that we plan to conduct on the Knee Sleeve and application do try to find flaws and fix them to maximize usability. I have had a little bit of experience working with mysql and very surface level exposure to PHP.  I have been trying to work though tutorials online and watching videos to learn more on how PHP works with mysql. The PHP is still very confusing to me but I am still trying to get a better understanding of it through online resources. As for building the database, I have only learned how to do this through Terminal on my mac using “create table” statements and inserting data into the tables using insert statements. Unfortunately, I had a hard time accessing the database through terminal. I have the database name, account name, and the password, so I typed “mysql -u DBUSER -h DBSERVERNAME –p Pass” with the database information and wasn’t able to access it. So I am not sure if it is a syntax error, or if the problem is that I do not have permission to access the database.


My goal for this week is to get help on getting the bend sensor to function so that I can start building the knee brace.