If the runner picks up pace and moves toward the front of the running belt, the speed automatically increases. If the runner slows down and moves toward the back, the speed decreases."The result is a treadmill experience that is much closer to walking or running outdoors," said Steven T. Devor, associate professor of kinesiology at the Ohio State University."If you are running outside and you want to speed up or slow down, there is no button to push. It is the same with this new automated treadmill," Devor noted.

The researchers started with an inexpensive sonar range finder which is used to measure the distance between an object and the sonar device.The device is a finished prototype and is nearly ready for commercialisation. Ohio State recently filed a patent application covering the treadmill's novel features.The researchers revealed the automated treadmill in a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.

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