As SMARTfit’s founder, I’ve been building interactive ‘exergame’ technology since the late nineties when Billie Jean King played on an early prototype and encouraged me to keep going. Offering her support for no financial return with the promise in return that I would focus on general mainstream solutions, and inner city youth, Billie Jean King gave me the encouragement and fortitude to make it happen. As an athlete, she fully understood the power of what I was creating and how it could help a society that was rapidly becoming sedentary: “Go mainstream, don’t just keep it for sports training. Our youth need it”, she said.
Billie Jean King’s encouragement, coaching and fund-raising assistance are what led to the creation of SMARTfit’s predecessor, Sportwall, first for tennis followed quickly with youth programs located in over three thousand schools, YMCA’s, city recreation centers and B&G clubs.
Seven years ago, we started creating a brand new proprietary operating system (SMARTfitOS) focused on speed sufficient to process information equal to the fastest human motor performance yet also capable of interacting with up to 128 target screens designed to engage a wide range of cognitive and motor functionality.
SMARTfit’s operating system has enabled us to create content that can scale from low cognitive sensitized targets featuring colors and shapes to offering high cognitive memory, spelling and math games all delivered while engaging participants in cardio, strength, vestibular and motor-skills training designed to wake up the brain and spark the development of new neurons and physical skills. This practice, known as dual tasking in the physical therapy world, is quickly becoming highly recognized for its ability to treat many forms of neurological conditions.
Society has spent the last hundred years removing movement from daily interaction with the world causing damage on our DNA which could partly explain the explosion of neurological diseases over recent decades. From attending school while seated to creating machines to do our physical work, we have been relegated to functional training rooms in fitness clubs to do exercises that most simulate the way we evolved.
SMARTfit takes functional training to the next level by engaging the executive function of the brain and using dual-tasking to lead the workout. This modern solution places participants in a simulated real-life environment where the SMARTfit technology gets them to do the work. SMARTfit’s understated, yet greatest value, lies in its use of gamification technology which drives engagement while also making the exercises more ‘real and relevant’ thus better simulating true-to-life engagement.
“SMARTfit is a great retention tool as patients love to see their progress reports. It’s proof that they are getting better and that motivates them to return to complete their treatment program” says Bernie Thomas co-owner of Neubury Park Physical Therapy. “Our patients love SMARTfit because its fun.
We have front-ended the SMARTfit systems with an easy-to-use user interface based on an App driven off the iOS/Android platforms. This way, any teacher, trainer, therapist or practitioner can customize and access what they want to see from SMARTfit’s 600 plus video supported training applications. A sports performance trainer can create customized training protocols to improve an athlete’s speed, reactions and cognitive processing under pressure; a teached an create customized lesson plans; and a physical therapist can create a program focused on treating patients with concussion or Parkinson’s.
SMARTfit has become a tool for the practitioner to deliver the full spectrum of cognitive-motor exercises, measure and track progress, and print customized reports that for the first time ever, can measure this aspect of human function.
Thank you, Billie Jean King, for your generous encouragement, for opening doors, and for your coaching during those early days when nobody would believe me.