Fall Design Review:
Fitness Identification Tracking (FIT) System
Professor Larry Fennigkoh
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Submitted by Design Team 04001:
Scott Bugenhagen – Engineer
Pamela Duda – Assistant Project Manager
Nicole Gregor – Project Manager
Dan Shefchik – Engineer
BE 404 Section 001
September 15, 2006
Statistics from the National Center for Health show that 30% of U.S. adults (over 60 million people) are
obese and 16% of U.S. children and teens (over 9 million people) are overweight. Being overweight
increases the risk of diseases and health conditions such as hypertension, type II diabetes, coronary heart
disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, and some cancers.
The development of a system that would encourage people to exercise regularly and in a healthy,
controlled manner would help to reduce obesity. To be effective, the system must be easy to use, and kept
in an accessible area. The Fitness Identification Tracking (FIT) System will be one of the best ways for
novice and professional athletes alike to track and record their exercise advancements, and ensure that
exercise is not only effective, but also controlled and healthy.
The Fitness Identification Tracking (FIT) System will count and record the number of laps, lap times,
energy expenditures and heart rates of runners on an indoor track. Radio frequency identification (RFID)
will be used to accurately record the time of each lap. Heart rate data will be obtained via a custom built
chest strap and the data will be sent continuously via wireless to a nearby laptop which will then store it
for later calculations. The heart rate will also be continuously updated on the large display as the runner
is working out. Since the distance of each lap is predetermined, average velocity will also be calculated
using the time of each lap. A large display will show the time, heart rate and distance run for each athlete.
The data on the display will be kept confidential by displaying only the confidential user names created
by the athletes upon their first use of the system. Physiological and performance data will be available on
the laptop for easy access upon entrance of the correct confidential user name and password. Upon
completion of the workout, users may view their data in graphical and tabular form.
A survey confirmed an interest in the product among potential users. The use of radio frequency
identification distinguishes the FIT System from other similar systems which use pedometers. The
advantage of radio frequency identification is that it is more accurate than pedometers which rely on stride
length which varies with speed, steepness, etc. The goal of the FIT System is to encourage exercise by
monitoring performance and physiology. The energy expenditure display will help users to eliminate
obesity, which increases the risk of hypertension, Type II Diabetes, and coronary heart disease.
Implementation of the FIT System, will afford users the ability to exercise in a controlled and healthy
A radio-frequency-identification (RFID) -based system, the Fitness Identification Tracking (FIT) System,
will be developed and tested in order to provide performance trending and an increased awareness of the
physiological effects of running. It will be implemented in indoor running tracks to count/record athlete
laps, lap times, energy expenditures and heart rates.
In order to monitor the physiological constituents of a track runner, the FIT System will be composed of
four unique elements: a large display, a chest strap, RFID system, and computer software. Lap times will
be monitored by the RFID reader, which controls the antennas to detect the tags. When the reader detects
a tag crossing the antenna it sends the tag ID to the computer through a serial cable. Once the laptop has
this information it will calculate the lap number and time. The laptop will then send the lap number and
time to the large display. RFID technology will create an accurate means of monitoring the exact velocity
of the runner based on the known distance of the track and the extremely accurate account of the moment
the runner crosses a fixed RFID antenna mat, which is the competitive feature of our product.
Heart Rate Monitor
The FIT System will track heart rate using active electrodes with circuitry that will filter and sample the
ECG signal. This circuitry will be connected to a RF system that will wirelessly transmit only the heart
rate of the user to the laptop. This wireless system will allow the FIT System to continuously monitor the
heart rate of the runner throughout the entire workout. The program will then save this information into
the runner’s file for later calculations.
The RFID tag will be encoded with it own identification number, so that the each time the runner crosses
the mat the specific tag identification will be recorded. Passive tags will be implemented since they are
cost effective, light weight and can easily be read by the readers. Furthermore, passive tags have a limited
specific range dependent on the fixed location of the antenna and power of the reader. The passive tags
will attach to the lower part of the body, such as on the ankle or foot via shoelaces or an ankle strap. Each
tag will be encased in plastic to reduce sweat damage and allow easy sanitation. The antenna will be in
the form of a floor mat so that it will be within the range of the tags.
FIT System Database
The final and most complex component of the FIT System is the computer software database. In the
interest of user confidentiality, each FIT System user is required to create a unique, confidential user
name and password. Each user must log into the FIT System database with his/her unique user name and
password prior to each workout to enter the number of the RFID tag and heart rate monitor he/she will be
using, and at any time to access the final workout summary. The user name is also used to display the
user’s data on the large display confidentially throughout the workout session. Coaches and/or personal
trainers may have access to specific athletes’ data only upon the strict legal agreement of the athletes
At the time of a user’s first workout, after creating a user name and password, each user will be required
to enter his/her height and weight for calculation purposes. A user is only prompted to enter his/her
height and weight during the initial set-up of his/her account, but the height and weight of a user can be
changed at any time by the user upon logging in to the FIT System. The data obtained from the specified
heart rate monitor and RFID tag will be stored in the database during the workout under the user’s
account. After a workout is complete, the user may log into the FIT System database and view his/her
final workout summary. The FIT System completes calculations including: target heart rate, average
heart rate per lap, number of laps, average time per lap, average speed per lap, mile time, energy
expenditure and total distance run. The output data will be displayed in tabular format, with heart rate,
and time per lap also displayed in graphical form.
Project Market Potential
The FIT System lends itself well to implementation in any exercise facility with a large amount of users
such as middle school, high school and college training facilities or private and public health clubs such as
YMCA facilities. There are over 2,400 YMCA facilities alone in the United States and 40 million youth
and families worldwide take advantage of YMCA services.1 This large number of exercise facility users
indicates the presence of a demand for access to sports fitness technology. While the FIT System
prototype will be designed for the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s newest fitness facility, the Kern
Center, the product could easily be implemented in other facilities as well. Additionally, this downtown
Milwaukee location will provide easy access to many other future areas of implementation. The ease of
use of the product, and the valuable biometric data it provides, will undoubtedly spur many other training
facilities to desire incorporation of the FIT System in their running tracks.
The FIT System offers a novel approach to fitness monitoring that will quickly outshine the current
competition. The majority of the current technology used for fitness monitoring is for single users only,
and is most often self-contained in a watch. Companies such as Polar, Suunto, and Nike all currently
have watches on the market that allow the user to track his/her progress via heart rate, calorie counters,
and lap times. The two main downfalls of the current fitness monitoring products are that they are
expensive and many are not computer compatible, which severely limits their ability to process and store
data. One of the foremost advantages of the FIT System is that there will be almost no limit to the
amount of data that can be stored for each runner. Also, our system will be able to support several
runners at one time and will be capable of having room for hundreds of runners’ information on one
computer. Other advantages to the system include wireless transfer of heart rate data and access to
physiological data upon completion of the workout. This contrasts sharply with the software included
with some of Suunto’s watches which require users to connect the watch to a computer after each workout
to prevent information from being over-written during the next use. Other patents that are currently on
the market use pedometers to track distance. The accuracy of distance recorded by pedometers can be
negatively affected by the user’s stride which can vary. The FIT System uses RFID technology to obtain
an accurate measurement of distance and time. Also, other patents use GPS in the watches to record
distance accurately but users are required to buy the entire system and connect it to the computer in order
to transfer the information. The GPS systems are as expensive as 350 dollars per watch, and most do not
work indoors. Finally, there are other patents for wireless heart rate monitors built into treadmills, but
they do not store any data.
To ensure the ingenuity of the FIT System, a thorough search of all existing patents was completed. The
search was completed using the Milwaukee School of Engineering library resources, and was focused in
two ways: one focus was on RFID monitoring of health/fitness; the other was on tracking patients and the
like with RFID. Through this search, no patents were found that related to running tracks or lap counters/
timers. The patents that were found used pedometers or GPS technology for tracking the laps. No patents
were found using RFID technology to track lap times on a running track. Patents were also found using
RFID technology to track the location of patients and animals within facilities. Through this search, we
are confident that the FIT System is a novel idea, and its creation will not result in any patent
Survey of Potential Users
In the spring of 2005, a survey was distributed in order to evaluate interest in the FIT System among a
random sampling of the student body and athletic coaches at the Milwaukee School of Engineering
(MSOE). The goal of the survey was to determine: if there was interest in the system; what features were
most important to potential users; and if additional features would be beneficial to the user.
Over 83% of the respondents said “yes” when asked “Would you be interested in using an exercise
tracking system in the Kern Center?” About 53% of the respondents stated that they would use the
system several days a week; about 30% stated they would use it one day a week; and only 17% responded
that they would not use the system at all (FIGURE 1). The survey confirmed that there would be support
for such a system at MSOE.
FIGURE 1: Pie Chart representations of the survey results indicating interest in the FIT System and its
There was also a section of the survey to explore the design options each respondent would like to see
included in the FIT System. This section was very useful in our design because it helped dictate the
aspects of the FIT System that we concentrated on. The responses from this section were tabulated for
easy analysis (FIGURE 2)
Features Respondents Indicated they would desire in the FIT System
Number of Respondants
Heart Calorie Distance Lap Average Clock Blood Audible Performance Performance Charts
Rate Counter Meter Counter Speed Pressure HR Graphs
FIGURE 2: Bar graph representation of the features survey respondents indicated they would desire in
the FIT System
Based only on the group of respondents that indicated they would use the FIT System, the most requested
feature was a distance meter (86.67%), followed by the heart rate monitor (73.33%) and the clock
(70.00%). The least favored feature was an audible heart rate zone alert (20.00%). The results were used
to complete the process of quality function deployment (QFD), and to create a house of quality.
Quality Function Deployment (QFD) / House of Quality
Through the process of quality function deployment (QFD), a House of Quality was constructed using the
survey data to compare the desires of the customer with the requirements of the design, and the cost of the
design features. The house of quality was used as a feasibility and marketing tool for the design of the
The first step in determining the users’ expectations of the FIT System was the formation of a list of
potential product attributes. The list of “user wants” was installed in a House of Quality diagram
(FIGURE 3). The potential “user wants” are listed and developed below.
• Lap Counter- Counts each instance when the runner crosses a designated position
• Average Speed Calculator- Determines the average speed of each lap based on the time of each
lap and a predetermined length of lap
• Odometer- Measures the distance the runner traveled based on the number of laps and
predetermined length per lap
• Clock- Standard time
• Running Timer- Measures the time elapsed since the runner began
• Lap Timer- Measures time elapsed between crossing the designated position
• Heart Rate Zone Calculator- Determines the target heart rate range for a given age and resting
• Blood Pressure Monitor- Measures blood pressure not during exercise
• Heart Rate Monitor- Determines heart rate during exercise
• Calorie Counter- Calculates the number of kilocalories burned during exercise
• Weight Monitor- Allows user to obtain weight
• Performance Analysis- Outputs evaluation of exercise
• Compatibility with Other Equipment- Ability of system to be implemented with others
• Low Cost- Price to manufacture, develop, test
• Water/Sweat Proof- Ability to withstand humidity, spills, sweat, etc.
• Safe to Use- No harmful effects to the user
• Lightweight- How portable the system is and how light it weighs
• Recyclable Materials- Effects on the environment
The “user wants” listed above were given a priority rating based on the survey results. The “user wants”
were related to the methods of the supplier listed below.
• Digital Display
• Message Box
• RFID Tag
• RFID Mat
• Computer Software
• Statistical Analysis
• Metal Heart Rate Plate
The following symbols relate the supplier methods to the user wants in the roof of the house of quality.
+ Strong Relationship
o Weaker Relationship
x Adverse Relationship
The line labeled “Priority Importance” determines the importance of each method by adding designated
values of the symbols, with (+ = 3), (o = 1), and (x = -1).
FIT System House of Quality Diagram
Metal Heart Rate Plate
Lap Counter 12
Average Speed Calculator 13
Running Timer 2
Lap Timer 3
Heart Rate Zone Calculator 4
Blood Pressure Monitor 10
Heart Rate Monitor 16
Calorie Counter 11
Weight Monitor 5
Performance Analysis 9
Low Cost 7
Safe to Use 18
Light Weight 14
Recyclable Materials 6
Compatibility with Other Equipment 1
Priority Importance 12 11 4 11 1 7 16 11 22 7 4 0 0
Weighted Importance 116 104 21 106 4 75 163 121 178 59 77 -6 2
FIGURE 3: FIT System House of Quality
The FIT System is the future of fitness monitoring; it is a single system to keep track of multiple people’s
activity while allowing individual use. Also, the information will be stored entirely on a computer,
increasing storage capacity. The FIT System’s user-oriented intuitive design contrasts sharply with many
watches that are currently available which have small screens and include user manuals that must be read
to understand and operate all of the functions. Also, other companies currently offer only single-user
watches complete with software. This means that the cost for a heart rate monitoring system is very high
for each individual. The FIT System, being an integrated system, will allow individual users to use the
system for little or no cost aside from membership to the facility in which it was implemented.
Social and Environmental Impact
The FIT System will encourage healthy lifestyles by monitoring performance and reducing obesity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, data from the National Center for Health
Statistics shows that 30 percent of U.S. adults (over 60 million people) are obese and 16 percent of U.S.
children and teens (over 9 million young people) are overweight. Being overweight increases the risk of
diseases and health conditions such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, Type II Diabetes, coronary heart
disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, and some
cancers.2 Additionally, the increasing number of overweight and obese individuals has adverse economic
effects on individual, state and national levels. A study indicated that 9.1 percent of the total U.S. medical
expenditures in 1998, reaching as high as $78.5 billion were due to weight problems. Approximately half
of the costs were paid by Medicaid and Medicare.3 By providing an output of calorie expenditure, the FIT
System will aid users who wish to lose weight, thereby simultaneously increasing the health of users and
potentially lowering medical costs.
If the FIT System is implemented at an early age, young people will become aware of the direct
correlations between energy expenditure, heart rate, and exercise, which will lead to healthy lifestyle
choices. This increased insight could ultimately reduce childhood, teenage and adult overweight and
obesity problems. Current statistics show that 33 percent of all high school students are not engaging in
recommended amounts of physical activity.4 By implementing the FIT System, people of all ages will
enjoy the benefits of a healthy active lifestyle.
Radio Frequency (RF) Technology
A critical component of our system involves the transfer of heart rate (HR) data from the ECG heart rate
monitor (HRM) to our database. Preferably, this data transfer would have been implemented as an
extension of our RFID reader, but realistically this would not be possible due to limitations with the
technology. The only practical way to transfer HR data to the database would be to implement a discrete
RF wireless system. Wireless transmission of HR data would allow lap number and lap time data to be
synchronized to HR data. Also, most wireless RF modules are able to transmit data through ranges of
several hundred meters. This would be sufficient to cover the area of the Kern Center running track.
Many commercially available RF wireless modules provide high performance with minimal testing and
development. Once the heart rate signal is properly conditioned, it would be a simple matter of
connecting the output of our HRM to the RF module via a serial connection.
There are several types of modulation techniques that are used to transmit signals including several
different variations of analog and digital techniques. Digital modulation is currently the most popular
among commercial RF modules due its absence of distortion. Of the different variations of digital
modulation, frequency-shift-keying (FSK) is most common because of its simplicity and because it is
robust to interference. Phase-shift-keying (PSK) is also commonly used, but tends to be more
complicated and expensive. There are also several different operating frequencies from which to choose.
Many of the available wireless standards, including WiFi and Bluetooth, operate at frequencies of 2.4
GHz or 5.8 GHz to allow for maximum data transmission rates. However, the HR signal that would be
transmitted in our system does not contain a large amount of information which means that the slower
transmission rates provided by modules operating in the 902 – 928 MHz unlicensed band would be
adequate for our needs. An advantage of modules operating in this band is that they tend to have longer
ranges and are generally less expensive -- two desirable characteristics for this application.
Lap times will be recorded and sent to the FIT System computer database using RFID technology. The
RFID reader will be connected to the computer via a serial cord. The reader is the “brains” of the entire
RFID system. Passive RFID readers are based off of a technology that utilizes backscatter modulation to
transmit the data. The reader generates a high power magnetic field (on the order of a watt) that is able to
provide power to the passive tag. The tag antenna picks up this field and induces a voltage causing it to
wake up. The tag then alternately shorts and opens the antenna causing the backscatter modulation that
carries the data to the reader. Because the coupling is essentially near field, the read range is much
shorter than RF systems. The more powerful the reader the greater the power it provides to the antennas,
which will increase the range of the antennas. The readers come in multiple operating frequencies, the
most common being 125 kHz and 13.56 MHz. Systems operating at lower frequencies offer a significant
cost advantage, but lack critical features including anti-collision capability and long range performance.
Higher frequency systems offer these features, but are considerably more expensive.
Second only to the readers, the antenna is the most critical component of a functional RFID system.
Antennas will be connected to the reader and placed on the track for the runner to run across. Range can
be further enhanced through the use of high speed multiplexers that allow multiple antennas to be used at
the same time. Antennas can be custom made to the size that is desired, however, extra or larger antennas
require more powerful readers to run. In conclusion, the way the RFID portion of the FIT System will
work is that the runner will have a tag on his/her shoe. When the shoe passes the antennas, which are
connected to the reader, the tag will be read and the reader will tell the computer through a serial cable
which tag has just gone over the antennas.
There is no single universally accepted set of standards for RFID technology. There are, however, quite a
few standards that an RFID system can utilize. Compilation of the different standards into one universal
system that can be used and shared has not yet been completed which is why most of the current RFID
systems are closed systems.
The different types of standards that are currently in place have been set by the ISO (International
Standards Organization) and the Universal Code council has also been a leading figure in this debate.
Although, they are not the single authority, it could even be said that Wal-Mart has come up with their
own set of RFID standards, which is an Electronic Product Code standard called Class One, Generation
Two, or C1, G2. Wal-Mart’s use of this technology is so large that their demands on the market have
encouraged companies to build to their specifications. The main standard that is followed for RFID is the
electronic product code (EPC) which is a standard that deals with the tracking of goods by placing RFID
tags on vehicles carrying the goods.
There are currently many different classes of tags that fall under the EPC global umbrella. The difference
between Class 0 and 1 is in the data structure and the operation of the tags. Class 0 tags are read only
which means they can not transmit the information that is on them. The only thing that is done with these
tags is that the reader reads the information that is on them and then it knows what is going in and out of
the stores or warehouses. A Class 1 tag is a one-time writable. This means that you could put
information on the tag only once and cannot write over the tag. The tag is passive and holds a minimum
of 96 bits. The zero class tags have 64 bits of memory, but come with the bits already permanently
encoded and unable to be changed. The class two tags are read/write tags meaning they can have
information written to them, and the same information read off of the tag by the user. Class two tags are
still passive tags with a 96 bit minimum memory. The class three tag is a read/ write tag with battery
power to enhance its range. The class three tag type is semi-active, meaning it cycles between being on
and off, allowing it to transmit information, but still conserve battery power. Class four is a read/ write
active transmitter. It is constantly on, and therefore is constantly transmitting data and never conserving
battery power. Class four tags are also larger and more expensive than the other RFID tags.
While the standards for RFID technology were researched for this project, all of the components used in
the FIT System will be bought from companies that manufacture RFID components, and will therefore
automatically already meet the necessary specifications.
Heart Rate Monitor Standards
The original design for the FIT System included incorporating an off-the-market heart rate monitor into
the system. Research has shown that obtaining a heart rate monitor that only provides heart rate data
(without any additional calculations of calories etc) will be nearly impossible. Therefore, research on the
standards required for building the heart rate monitor will be conducted during the Fall of 2006, as the
idea of building the heart rate monitor is relatively new to the project design.
ECG electrodes Heart Rate Monitor Signal Conditioning Wireless Transmission PC database
Excel spreadsheet and
13.65 MHz Transponder 50Ω Gate Antenna Receiver LabVIEW program Microsoft Data Link
Serial Data Interface LED Display
μ-Controller UART Interface RF Transmitter Antenna RF Receiver UART to USB interface
(interference & drift filtering)
FIGURE 4: Preliminary block diagram for the FIT System
FIT System Software
Flow Chart program
Main Menu Begin Workout Stop Workout Generate Report
If New User is
Y Verify password Verify password
Retrieve data and
display in table Y
Pop-up to obtain Pop-up to instruct Query DB
height, weight, user to transmit according to user
age HR data and date range
If Forward is N
Send New User Y HR calculations Create maximized
data to DB performed Excel report
Y Y Y N
If Back is
If Past User is User data sent to If Forward is
pressed DB pressed
If End is
Pop-up to collect If Forward is If back is
RFID number pressed pressed
If Forward is If Back is If End is
pressed pressed pressed
If Back is If End is
Wait 1 min.
If End is
Wait 1 min.
Wait 1 min
FIGURE 5: Flow chart for the FIT System Database Software
Programming & Simulations
Even without owning the RFID or heart rate hardware, the programming can begin using simulations.
The front panel of the program has been created and is shown in FIGURE 6. This front panel organizes
the users’ options in a clear and concise manner. A tab control will be used to organize the options.
Selection of the main tab displays what would be seen on a large display if the necessary funding were
available. When the user presses the forward arrow, the Begin Workout tab displays allowing the user to
register his/her RFID tag and update personal information such as weight, height, and age. Once the user
completes the workout, he/she can scroll to Stop Workout in order to stop timing after the last lap.
Finally, the user may choose Generate Report in order to create an Excel report showing all data stored
within the selected range of dates. After one minute of no activity, the program will display Main so that
other users may view their updated information.
a) Main Tab Option
b) Begin Workout Tab Option
c) Stop Workout Tab Option
d) Generate Report Tab Option
FIGURE 6: Front Panel Screenshots Showing Tab Options: a)Main b)Begin Workout c)Stop Workout
Some of the basic features have already been programmed. For instance, the blue arrows in the upper
right hand corner of each tab will navigate through the tab control such that pressing the forward arrow in
the Main menu will show Begin Workout. The End Program button in the lower right hand corner will
abort the program when it is run in LabVIEW and it will close the application when in the stand-alone
executable format. On the Begin Workout tab, the New User option creates a username and password
that will be stored in the database. After pressing Create New User, a pop-up allows the user to enter their
height, weight, and age to be stored in the database. Subsequently, a second pop-up allows the user to
input his RFID tag number which gets inserted into a shift array that will store the data for later use within
the program itself. When a user presses Submit Password on the Past Users option, the password is
compared to the stored password. If it is not valid, the user is notified and must re-enter the proper
password before continuing. If the password is valid, a pop-up allows the user to enter his RFID tag
number which will be stored in the array.
The next step of the programming is to use the buttons in the upper right hand corner of the screen to
simulate when a runner crosses the RFID mat. This will cause the username, date, lap number, lap time,
and running time to be clustered and sent to a second shift array simulating a runner crossing the RFID
reader. Upon completion of the workout, the user will re-enter his/her password and the data in the shift
arrays will be removed from the arrays and sent to the database. The Generate Report option must also be
completed using the Report Generation functions provided by LabVIEW. Once the heart rate hardware is
obtained, code will be added to instruct the user how to transmit the data and the information will be
analyzed and sent to the database in a separate table.
FIGURE 7: Timeline for the completion of the FIT System design project
FIGURE 8: Predicted budget requirements for the FIT System design project
1. YMCA. 23 Sept. 2005. <http://www.ymca.com/>.
2. Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and
Health Promotion. 23 Sept. 2005. <http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/bb_nutrition/index.htm>.
3. Overweight and Obesity: Economic Considerations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
23 Sept. 2005. <http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/economic_consequences.htm>.
4. Exercise/Physical Activity. National Center for Health Statistics. 24 Sept. 2005.
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Summary of Conference Proceedings: Concerns of RFID in Industry
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ProQuest. Precision Dynamics Corporation to Showcase Multi-Function RFID and Bar Code Reader at
the smart Healthcare Conference. 2004. 4 Oct. 2004. <http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb>.
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