From improving the elderly's mobility to having fun: how HK teens are using motion-sensing technology in their inventions

From improving the elderly's mobility to having fun: how HK teens are using motion-sensing technology in their inventions

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The Air Guitar app was developed by HKU engineering students Alex Teoh (from left), Daniel Kwok and Will Lam.
Photo: Edmond So/ SCMP

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From left; Angela Chung Hoi-lam; Candy Fong Yu-ting; and Lecturer Kong Chiu-fan of IVE developed a game to help people practice fall prevention.
Photo: K. Y. Cheng/SCMP

Hong Kong teens are finding new ways to use motion-sensing technology. Some have made a video game that can help the elderly become less likely to fall over, and a mobile app that teaches users how to play the guitar.

Students from the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education designed The Fall Prevention Exercise Game. They used Kinect, a motion-sensing device made for use with the Xbox 360.

The video game asks users to perform three simple actions: marching on the spot for one minute, standing up from a chair eight times in 30 seconds, and a stretching exercise.

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“These moves can help improve hand-eye coordination, train the lower body muscles and increase flexibility,” said physiotherapist Lo Sin-on, who helped the students to design the programme. He added that the exercises, which can easily be done at home, train the elderly to catch themselves when falling, reducing the risk of broken bones.

Three computer engineering students from the University of Hong Kong are also using motion-sensing technology. Will Lam Wun-yin, Daniel Kwok Ching-fung and Alex Teoh Jian-ning invented Air Guitar, an iOS application which allows wannabe guitarists to “play” anywhere and at any time, without the need for a real guitar.

Their creation won first prize in the 2018 China Collegiate Computing Contest – 3rd Mobile Application Innovation Contest on October 19, organised by Zhejiang University and Apple Inc.

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The app picks up motion and translates it into chords, mimicking the experience of playing a guitar.

“We used the gyroscope in the iPhone to determine which string is being played,” said Kwok. He was inspired to invent the app after noticing how difficult it is to carry a guitar around the city, especially in the summer. A gyroscope can tell which way up a phone is.

Users can play muted sounds, record, and play back their performances, too.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

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