Luton apprentices design a gym for the future

It allows people to turn their personal space into a gym, complete with personal coaching

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 11:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 12:00 am

Apprentices working at the Luton-based aerospace engineering company Leonardo have won the top prize in this year’s IMechE Apprentice Automation Challenge for their ‘smart mirror’ invention that offers users a ‘gym of the future’ through one-to-one personal coaching at home.

With gyms not always accessible due to intermittent restrictions and many working from home, finding space is at a premium. The apprentices wanted to create a solution that would allow people to transform their personal space into a gym.

The challenge asks apprentices to design, develop and build a fully working system that solves a real-world problem. The team of Leonardo apprentices, Solomon McKiernan, Harry Jackson, Runjie Wei, Taiye Jebutu, Alex Wall and Aquil Jafferji, created a mirror they’ve called ‘Reflex’, that can be installed anywhere in the home.

The winning team at Leonardo

After tapping on the mirror, the user is greeted by a personal instructor whose high definition image is integrated within a mirror pane. The user is then guided through a tailored fitness routine, drawn from a large range of well researched, quality workouts, transforming their living room into a gym of the future at the touch of a button. What makes this concept so that users can have a workout in front of a full-length mirror where the personal trainer can give them live and detailed feedback on their technique.

Electronic Engineering Degree Apprentice Solomon said: “We incorporated the sophisticated fitness system within a mirror, as it offers the benefit of viewing how you can improve your technique side by side with a professional, as one would with a personal trainer at the gym.”

Mechanical Engineering Degree Apprentice Runjie said: “Users could find themselves being coached face to face by top class athletes in front of a full body mirror from the comfort of their home without having to travel.”

Team member Harry, Electronic Engineering Graduate Apprentice said: “The beauty of this idea is that when your workout is complete, the mirror simply vanishes into the natural layout of your house, returning the space back to normal so it can be used for other purposes.”

The team’s mentor Rob Armstrong, who is Head of Operations for Leonardo’s Customer Service & Support Solutions at Capability Green, said: “The team won because they worked brilliantly together to come up with a great product concept, which they saw through to a fully operational prototype. They impressed the judges with the quality of their written report, which counted for 50% of their score in the competition. They have been working on the project since February, and had to overcome the challenges of operating remotely, making this an even more impressive achievement.”

As well as a cash prize of £2,000, the team will go on to present their work and be recognised for their achievements at the upcoming TMMX Awards later this year, organised by The Manufacturer.