Smart running track provides runners with data

A high-tech running track has recently opened in Shanghai, China, and it’s not like anything you’ve seen before.

 

Don’t fret if you’ve left your smart watch in your hotel room – this race track will time you, measure your heart rate and even cool you off when you’re done.

 

Shanghai is experiencing a running boom, with running clubs popping up all over the city, despite the serious issues with smog and air pollution. Many new running tracks are being laid down as the Shanghai International Marathon has been forced to allow entrance by lottery as demand for places grows year on year. One track in particular is making the news. 

 

The 8km track is laid out through Mingzhuhu Park on Chongming Island, and promises facial recognition technology and heart rate monitors for runners. The track is mostly made from a red plastic composite, with a 700-metre section of red asphalt. A 500-metre section is made of wood, and leads over water. 

 

In order to prevent cheating and to gain accurate timing, the course’s facial recognition technology uses pairs of cameras located at points along the track to capture runner’s faces. Working like end-to-end speed cameras, they can calculate the runner’s average speed over the distance. There are 8 of these cameras stationed along the route. The technology should also be available for runners who are seeking to measure their own progress when running outside of an official race. 

 

Alongside the technical timers, runners can visit heart rate monitor stations to assess their biometrics, and refresh as they run through water misting devices. It’s proving popular with locals, who are happy to pay 30 yuan (£3.50) to access the technology. 

 

The park itself is incredibly beautiful with a cooling mixture of forested areas, grass and water providing a welcome break from the hustle of Shanghai, China’s largest city. Runners who have used the smart running track have praised the combination of natural surroundings with the unobtrusive technology. 

 

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