As people are becoming more conscious of their physical and mental health, sports technology has also risen to the forefront of technological innovation. As a result, Coretronic Corporation established uCare Medical Electronics, a dedicated subsidiary, in June 2017 to seize market opportunities by helping customers achieve a healthy lifestyle through innovative IoT technology, products, and services.
uCare Medical Electronics General Manager Tony Tung-Hung Lu said that the company focuses mainly on the healthcare and sports markets. For the health market, the company targets rehabilitation needs of hospitals or nursing units and provides solutions or systematic services using sports medicine to treat patients undergoing stroke, cardiac, and sarcopenia rehabilitation. For the sports market, the company leverages the technical background in optical, mechanical, electrical, and thermal technology, and software of Coretronic, its parent company, to help commercial gyms improve fitness outcomes through the integrated application of sensors, gamification software, gym management systems, and even AI.
For example, both traditional and digital aerobic and strength training equipment can be outfitted with uCare's sensors to detect and track people's speed, stride rate, and stride length on treadmills or speed, distance, and cadence on fitness bikes. As for strength training equipment, uCare sensors can track the type of exercise, set weight, actual repetitions as well as the acceleration and force used during each exercise.
It is worth noting that data like these can be of immense value for each member of the fitness ecosystem. For example, gym owners can check the collected data to track the usage rate of each piece of equipment and plan maintenance accordingly. Trainers can use the same set of data to analyze which clients may need personal trainer services. In addition, users can reference the data as a detailed record of their exercise status to understand the progress and effectiveness of their fitness routines.
Gamified Sensors: Creating Safe, Fun, and Effective Solutions
Dr. Lu concluded by saying that, roughly speaking, uCare's products can be divided into three categories, all of which are delivered via B2B sales channels to their final locations. The first category of products targets hospitals, which includes cardiac training and testing, sarcopenia preventative care and training, and other sport rehabilitation services. The second category targets gyms. While the focus was initially on high-end gyms, more recently the company has shifted its focus to community gyms and schools. And lastly, home products, which uCare delivers by working with content service providers to integrate sensor models, games, or apps into pre-existing services to make them safe, effective, and fun.
For hospital products, uCare usually starts by assisting with vital sign assessments of patients, so that doctors can make exercise prescriptions accordingly. These prescriptions can then be fed into a uCare-developed system to be converted into computer-readable instructions for gym equipment, allowing patients to safely reach their prescribed fitness intensity.
For gym products, the company's solutions mainly use force or flow sensors to detect user movement and extract information that can be used in various applications such as gamified interfaces. A good example of this would be uCare's rowing machine which was selected by the Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs to be one of the categories in this year's (2021) ITSPORT event.
Home products are a new business opportunity that has rapidly emerged during the pandemic. Because user immersion is important for home users, uCare emphasized user experience in the design of home sports products. For example, users can integrate uCare sensors into exercise bikes or treadmills of different brands and then compete with friends remotely through a gamified software in a smart device, such as tablets.
"We use sensors as a means to collect data and analyze it to develop various types of sports games," said Dr. Lu. In other words, any sports equipment can be armed with uCare sensors to work with uCare-developed gamified software. uCare also works directly with equipment manufacturers to integrate solutions into fitness machines, so that users can interact with built-in gamified software when using the machine. This has the advantage of supporting two-way resistance, making interactions with the game's virtual world feel even more immersive. In addition, uCare's gaming cloud application service supports sports social application functions to help users connect with friends to exercise and communicate with each other. For fitness equipment manufacturers, such social platforms can also be used to facilitate maintenance, management, and participation in the community, and serve as a preliminary implementation of digital sports applications for the metaverse going forward.
In a nutshell, uCare's biggest advantage lies in its vertically integrated solutions, from signal sensors to applications. Users need only install uCare hardware to gain access to the full catalog of uCare software. Furthermore, uCare medical and fitness applications place safety, effectiveness, and fun at the forefront, distinguishing the company from its competitors.
uCare Medical Electronics Invests in Sensor Technology to Develop Smart Healthcare and Sports Applications