Cruise Control App Adjusts Music Rhythm in Real-Time to Control Your Running and Keep You on Pace

By on Jan 4, 2013 at 11:53 am

Cruise ControlBy adjusting the tempo of your music in real-time, Cruise Control uses songs from your favorite playlists to control your running pace and heart rate. Simply plug in your target pace or rate and start running. By matching your footsteps to the music’s tempo, you can be confident you’re hitting your pace or heart rate goal. The Cruise Control App is available today in the App Store for $4.99.

Cruise Control is the brainchild of biomechanics researchers Mark Snaterse and Dr. Max Donelan. “Cruise Control is based on our recent scientific discovery,” says Dr. Max Donelan, biomechanics professor at Simon Fraser University. “We found that it is possible to accurately and rapidly control people’s running speed or heart rate using auditory feedback. To turn this esoteric, scientific finding into a compelling user experience, we worked with some excellent App developers to build a full-featured music playing running app for the iPhone. Imagine flying down the trail at exactly the speed you want, with every beat of every song on your playlist synchronized to your footfalls. It feels like your favorite band is right there with you, timing their kick drum to drive you faster and further.”

The Experience
It’s called Cruise Control because it works like the cruise control in your car. Set your target and the App will automatically begin adjusting the music’s tempo, just like a car adjusts the throttle. As the music tempo increases, so does your pace, quickly pushing you to your target speed and then keeping you there. You can forget about how fast you’re running and just listen to the music, matching your foot strikes to the beat. Cruise Control automatically pulls good running songs from the music already on your phone into the app. As the tempo increases and decreases, the music’s sound and pitch remain unchanged, keeping the songs sounding like the music you’ve grown to love.

The Control
There are four ways to Cruise Control your run:

  1. Pace Mode – Pick a target speed and go. Simply match your foot strike with the music and let the rhythm take you to your target pace. Lab tests show that with a little practice this is extremely accurate at reaching and maintaining your targeted pace, with an average error of less than 2%.
  2. Heart Rate Mode – Similar to the Pace Mode, just match your steps to the beat and let the music guide you to your target heart rate and keep you there. Lab tests show that this mode is also very accurate, with an average error of about 2 beats per minute (BPM) of the target heart rate (heart rate monitor required).
  3. Cadence Mode – Plug in your goal strides per minute (SPM) and the let the music tempo take you there.
  4. Free Run Mode – Just head out for a run while listening to your tunes. Cruise Control will automatically match the music to your running rhythm.

The Science
Dr. Max Donelan and PhD candidate Mark Snaterse from the Locomotion Lab at Simon Fraser University used a combination of human experiments and control theory to develop algorithms that control your running speed and intensity in real-time. While the App may seem like magic, under the hood is strong scientific theory backed by careful experimentation and solid engineering. The result is an App that will repeatedly deliver accurate results and help runners meet their running goals.

The Extra Sauce – Cruise Control’s additional features include:

  • Easily select your favorite songs into epic running specific playlists.
  • Switch songs, change playlists or use the thumb-up and thumb-down feature to keep track of those great and not-so-great tunes.
  • Accurately measure running pace and cadence using the iPhone’s built-in sensors.
  • Pair with ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitors and stride sensors for even more running data. Check out our favorites from our friends at Wahoo Fitness (www.WahooFitness.com).
  • View your pace, cadence, heart rate and route map as you run including current, average and maximum values.
  • Review your running history including mileage, distance, map, pace, cadence and heart rate.
  • Share your runs via Facebook, Twitter and Google+ or email your runs including all your data for uploading to your favorite training website (including MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, Nike+, TrainingPeaks, GarminConnect, MapMyTracks, 2Peak, dailymile, Strava, or Dropbox).

Cruise Control is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and iPhone 4.

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