All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Alan W Eberhardt

Advisory Committee Members

Lee G Moradi

Mohanraj Thirumalai

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (MSBME) School of Engineering


It has been widely noted that physical activity rates have become extremely low, while rates of sedentary life style and obesity have risen. An emerging strategy for improving healthy living has been to convert sedentary screen time into an opportunity for physical activity through active video games (AVGs). People with physical disabilities have consistently shown high incidence of physical inactivity, obesity, and other secondary conditions, and the majority of current exercise devices were not designed to accommodate those with physical disabilities. The current project worked to develop the controls and display interface for a highly adaptable exercise device for those with physical disabilities. Specifically, a display was created using Microsoft (Redmond, WA) Visual C# 2015 that could load a video course, link the video playback rate to user exercise rate, and allow users to choose their own paths along the course. Resistance was automatically adjusted to reflect local terrain, e.g. a video that showed an increase in grade would increase resistance proportionally. The user had the ability to make path choices through voice commands, keyboard presses, or through directional leaning using a custom balance sensing system. The resistance was controlled via a universal serial bus connection between the computer and an Arduino microcontroller utilizing a custom controls algorithm. A basic multiplayer interface was developed as a means of encouraging cooperative and competitive exercise opportunities. Several initial tests were performed on the voice recognition, the balance sensing system, and the heart rate monitoring to provide initial verification of their utility. The voice recognition system displayed a high degree of reproducible functionality up to background noise conditions of ~65 dBs. The balance system displayed an ability to provide useful feedback functionality for both standing and seated users. Initial investigation of heart rate during an exercise period using the device demonstrated that normal operation of the device can induce and maintain heart rate levels above the desired metabolic thresholds for cardiovascular improvement. Overall, this project has created, implemented, and verified the basic functionality of this advanced, adaptive device for people with physical disabilities.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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