Let’s not mince words here — running on a treadmill is extremely boring. But the springy surface is better for the knees, so runners continue to hop back on the hamster wheel. When music and TV aren’t enough enough to kill the boredom, some desperate souls — myself included — try reading. I quickly learned it wasn’t a great idea. About five minutes into my jog, after trying to focus on bouncing text, I felt nauseous.
Run-n-Read, developed by Weartrons Labs, is a new device that may help keep my lunch down, should I ever return to the treadmill with reading material. It’s a clip-on sensor, worn on a headband that tracks the up and down movement of a runner. Via Bluetooth, that data is transmitted to an Android or iOS reading app, which slightly moves the text to keep it in sync with a runner’s motions. This system only works with tablets, e-readers or smartphones, so printed material would have to be left at home.
The idea behind Run-n-Read isn’t necessarily new, however it is more streamlined. Researchers at Purdue University were first to build a treadmill reading system, but the infra-red goggles and tracking cameras were cumbersome. Run-n-Read is no bigger than a pedometer and weighs less that 10 grams.
Actually, it is a pedometer and a fitness tracker, keeping track of steps taken and calories burned. By tapping a finger on the device, it can even turn the “page” of runner’s reading material.
The final retail version of Run-n-Read is expected to cost over $100, but early backers who help crowdfund the device can nab one for as little as $40.