How Gripping Technology Improves the Effectiveness & Enjoyment of Workouts & Work [Possibilities Keep Growing]

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Although everyone who exercises prefers a different workout routine, every routine has one thing in common: listening to music while exercising increases performance level by delaying fatigue or increasing work capacity. Well-fitting earbuds make listening to music more enjoyable while promoting more endurance or greater strength than one would have without the benefit of comfortably listening to music while improving his or her physical condition.

Over the past decade-plus, several studies have shown the positive connection between music and fitness levels.

A study conducted in Italy and Croatia by Prof. Luca P. Adrigo of the University of Verona in Italy and published earlier this year in Frontiers in Psychology showed that listening to high-tempo music increases the benefits of exercise for physical fitness and reduces the perceived effort involved.

This effect was more pronounced in people performing endurance exercises, such as walking, than in those undergoing high-intensity training, such as weightlifting. The researchers hope that their findings can help people to improve their workout routines and exercise more efficiently.

A 2006 study conducted by the National Center for Health Research reached a similar conclusion when examined the effects of music on the selection of treadmill speed.   

The Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization that uses objective, research-based information to encourage programs and policies that promote the health and safety of women, children, and families,  found that while listening to fast-paced music, participants increased their pace and distance traveled without becoming more tired. 

More recent studies have drawn similar conclusions about the correlation between listening to music with more beats per minute and enhancement of physical performance, especially when a person is engaged in low to moderate levels of exercise.

A 2011 study led  by sports psychologist Costas I. Karageorghis, Ph.D., who teaches at Brunel University, a public research institution in London, showed that to achieve the best performance for cycling (which was calculated by measuring exercise intensity through heart rate), the preferred tempo is between 125 and 140 beats per minute (bpm).

A study published in 2014 and led by Dr. Karageorghis, whose research has been featured in newspapers worldwide, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post, showed that the best music tempo for enhanced performance on the treadmill is between 123 and 131 bpm. 

A plausible reason why different types of exercise have different ideal tempos is related to one’s ability to keep time with the beat of the music, synchronizing strides or pedaling. Because pace differs on the treadmill versus the exercise bike or elliptical, music of different tempos is needed to achieve ideal performance for various workouts.

The most succinctly-stated motives for setting workouts to music is found in this Huffington Post article. In a nutshell, music, provides a good kind of distraction, increases your effort; puts you “in the zone,” helps you keep pace, elevates your mood and makes you want to move. What could be better?

Enhancing Comfort & Productivity

nGt_EarbudsThe ideal earbuds are comfortable to wear and don’t slip out of your ear, no matter how much you move during an intense workout, nor how much you perspire. The best earbuds are made with gripping material that keeps wearable products in-place when they touch wet and oily skin. Its higher friction performance – up to 240% grip improvement in slick conditions – means that millions of microscopic fibers can conform to almost any shape or surface requirement.

Other contributing factors are the ability to provide enhanced gripping or friction without the stickiness and residue of chemically treated materials, as well as the material’s softness, so it feels more like a pillow than sandpaper, and a low profile so it can be used in film-thin sizes to conform to a wide range of shapes.

The science is fascinating. A gripping material inspired by the microscopic hair, or setae, of a gecko’s foot retains 60%-70% of its original friction in wet and oily conditions. In contrast, rubber can lose 90% of its friction when exposed to the same conditions.

A gecko-inspired material can also conform to a wide range of polymer chemistries and hardnesses, including thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), thermoplastic olefin (TPO), Nylons, polycarbonate acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (PC/ABS), thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), styrene ethylene butylene styrene (SEBS) and silicones.

Additionally, moisture-resistant gripping material is also important with helping people’s eyewear stay in-place. Whether mountain biking, playing tennis, golf, softball or any other exclusively or primarily non-contact sport, or working at a desk or in a field picking crops, glasses slipping down the bridge of one’s nose is an irritant that inhibits enjoyment and productivity.

This article from Shape explains the challenges people face when wearing glasses to exercise, and points to the need for us to continue working with wearables manufacturers to make workouts more enjoyable for people who need vision correction while maintaining their physical well-being. 

Underscoring the importance of well-fitting eyewear in all conditions is a 2018 study conducted jointly by Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, VisionSpring, an organization that provides affordable, quality glasses to the 2.5 billion people worldwide, and several other organizations. 

The findings revealed that providing tea pickers in India with corrective lenses improved worker productivity by 21.7 percent, with productivity increasing to almost 32 percent when vision correction was provided to workers over 50. That improvement represents the largest ever-recorded productivity increase from any health intervention.

Filling a Market Need

nanoGriptech 15 NosepadsWe recently expanded the practical application of our technology by developing Anti-Slip Microstructured Nose Pads for Eyewear. These non-tacky, non-sticky accessories are designed to take the annoyance out of wearing eyeglasses and are available 5 pairs to the pack or 15 pairs to the pack. Based on data from Amazon, one of our sales channels, the results are encouraging.

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The possibilities of this technology are seemingly endless, which is why academic and commercial labs continue to conduct research for improving the gripping power of non-stick, water-resistant materials.

Metin SittiA research paper published earlier this year by our friend and colleague, Dr. Metin Sitti, who founded our company 11 years ago, revealed the development of a bio-inspired reversible dry adhesive material that is able to repel all liquids, regardless of their surface tension. He currently heads the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart, Germany.

Although dry adhesives have been actively studied and used in consumer and industrial applications for two decades, a super liquid-repellent dry adhesive has never been achieved before.

nanoGriptech -- Gecko Simply stated, the research demonstrates that by changing the shape of the fibril tips, scientists can “outsmart” nature and make their dry adhesive super-repellent to water and other liquids. As a result, gecko-inspired dry adhesives may now stick to any wet surface without any adhesion loss, and a climbing robot using bio-inspired dry adhesives can climb on surfaces containing any liquids. Additionally, a robot hand equipped with a layer of such an adhesive can pick-and-place any object covered in liquid.

Those results bode well for the future of wearables delivering comfort and performance to consumers and also have potential implications for significantly improving the performance of some types of industrial equipment.

What’s Next?

As a company rooted in science and technology, we continue to experiment with different formulations at our initiative and based on the needs of our customers. We also draw upon the research of organizations such as MPI-IS for inspiration and form strategic alliances when appropriate.

As our focus on commercial product development increases, we will continue to stay connected to the latest research in our field because the results of those investigations remain the lifeblood of our business.

If you think we can use our expertise to help you enhance the quality of a wearable product you’re already manufacturing, or develop a new one…

Let us know