As any good jogger knows, keeping pace is important. That may be possible on a treadmill, but until now there were no options for joggers.

Two scientists from Simon Fraser University hope to solve that problem, reports The Vancouver Sun. Their device is a little like cruise control on a car. It allows joggers to reach and monitor various pre-set speeds.

“During the run you just need to synchronize your steps with the sound, almost like you’re dancing. The tempo of the sound is automatically adjusted so that you reach your running goal.”

For now, the device is the size of a large backpack, but the inventors feel they can shrink it down, perhaps as an iPhone app.

“We know that for higher running speeds humans prefer higher step frequencies,” said Snaterse. “This relationship can be inverted -for higher step frequencies, humans prefer higher speeds. The cruise control for runners uses this principle.”

If a runner inadvertently slows down, the metronome frequency increases until the runner achieves the desired running speed. “When designed properly, this happens automatically, and quickly,” Snaterse added. “The metronome beep could eventually be replaced with music with a sliding tempo to control speed.”

Photo by Mike Baird