BALUO: Bases of Application Life Utilities Olomouc

Photo: Jan Volf
monday 23. january 2017, 12:23 – Text: Martin Višňa

The university campus at Neředín has been stamped with the hallmark of uniqueness. The Faculty of Physical Culture (FPC) has completed its Application Centre BALUO, which might seem at first like an ordinary complex of athletic halls and a pool. But in actuality, it is a modern science-technology park aimed at the support of a healthy lifestyle and movement, absolutely one-of-a-kind in Czechia.

Components of its uniqueness were gradually revealed during its test run, for example during the university’s Open House, when prospective students could examine the test pool facility, although they could not see the cameras which are used to analyse swimmers’ movements. There are sensors located throughout the test halls, including a ski trainer with adjustable slope and speed, a “smart” fitness centre, and a climbing wall.

The heart of the modern complex is of course the diagnostic studio for physical culture. “Because at present the level of physical activity is declining in the population, lots of people do not even know how to properly exercise. When they try, they often hurt themselves, rather than being rewarded by physical activity. So AC BALUO offers a helping hand – we’d like to explain to people, clearly and simply, what the state of their body is, and then based upon that, to recommend individual physical activities with respect to their physical and psychological state, and also according to their habits and what they enjoy,” said Ilona Hapková, Director of the Centre.

The essential starting line

It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about a schoolchild, a working adult, a senior, a person with a handicap, a weekend athlete or a top athlete: AC BALUO is for anyone who is interested in taking part in research in the area of an active lifestyle. What is essential is finding out where one’s “starting line” is. All a person has to do is to go there, fill out a questionnaire which will provide their experts with basic information, and then go through a diagnostic package according to their recommendations, one’s needs and goals.

“After determining the actual status, i.e. one’s starting line, the client can choose a physical activity or we can recommend one. The client can consult us about their movement programme and complete it in the areas in our centre. We place the emphasis on the individual needs of a given person and the length of the programme. We would like people to get to know their bodies, to take care of them, and follow their development with our expert help and better their physical fitness. We expect to cooperate with people who want to start to take care of themselves and protect themselves from the onset of the civilizational diseases of our modern era,” Hapková added.

At the same time, centre clients become anonymous components of the centre’s research. The recorded data will help improve the quality of preventive care for all social groups.

Smart technology

Interesting cooperation is also taking place in the large testing hall, which is being monitored by a unique geolocational system by the Sewio firm. It is more precise than standard GPS and can be used to monitor and measure movement of players on the court with the precision of centimetres.

Smart technologies are also used in the fitness centre with an area of over 300 m2, which contains all essential zones for the development of muscle power and physical fitness. All a visitor has to do is go up to the specific machine with their chip, and the machine will set the level of difficulty according to the visitor’s individual programme.

The Application Centre BALUO, construction of which was supported by a grant from the Operational Programme “Enterprise and Innovations”, was officially opened on 11 November 2016, by representatives of Palacký University and notable public figures from throughout the country. Hundreds of interested people were attracted to the evening’s diagnostic-sport programme.

There was yet another event on the same day, which attracted significantly less attention, but which will lead to further improvements in the FPC facilities – and not only for research. A contract was concluded with the developer of the Centre for Kinanthropology Research building, which will be converted from a former military laundry standing in close proximity to the Application Centre BALUO. It should be completed by the end of 2017.