iBuffy – The Interactive Kickboxing Heavy Bag (proposal)


Kickboxing is a sport of both kicking and punching.  Derived from the Martial Art of Muay Thai, kickboxing a full contact sport that can also be practiced for self-defense and general fitness.  The benefits of a high impact kickboxing workout include fat loss; increased muscle tone, energy, stamina, flexibility and endurance; stress relief, and self esteem boost.  Muscle and Fitness Magazine as the #1 fat burner, inducing an incredible calorie burn with estimates ranging between 350 and 800 Calories/hour.
Kickboxing classes can be held with no equipment, or with heavy bags, wrist wraps, and punching gloves.  During a class, an instructor calls out routines and combinations of basic the kicks and punches that students can practice at their own pace in the time allowed.  The instructor oversees students, adjusting paces to ensure that appropriate form is being kept.
While kickboxing classes are extremely popular and border line addictive, punching bags in the home often sit unused, collecting dust until they are sold on craigslist to collect dust in someone else’s basement.  I hypothesize that the practicing in the home lacks the interactive nature of a kickboxing class, lacking an instructor to set pace and call out routines and combinations.

Proposal:  iBuffy – The Interactive Heavy Bag

iBuffy is an interactive kickboxing heavy bag.  iBuffy serves the two missing components of a home kickboxing workout.  Firstly, it can be programmed with combinations and routines for a great workout.  iBuffy indicates where to hit next, similar to a Rock Band or Dance Dance Revolution song.  Secondly, it senses the force with the targets are hit, and adjusts the pace accordingly, to ensure that proper form is being kept, guarantee the most effective workout.

Combinations and Routines:

Combinations and routines can be built from the following component parts:


  • Jab: A straight punch thrown with the lead hand.
  • Cross: A straight punch thrown from the rear hand, crossing the body.
  • Hook: An arced blow, thrown with the lead hand.
  • Uppercut: An upward thrust, thrown with the lead hand.


  • Front Kick: A kick with the heel of the rear leg
  • Side Kick: A sideways kick with the heel of the facing leg
  • Roundhouse Kick: A circular kick thrown with the top of the back foot
  • Crescent Kick: A high, cross body sweeping kick, aimed at the jaw or head.

Sample 10 minute routine:

0:00–2:00    Jab, cross, hook, uppercut lead with left (30 seconds each)
2:00–4:00    Jab, cross, hook, uppercut lead with right (30 seconds each)
4:00–5:00    Front kick (30 seconds each, left and right)
5:00–6:00    Roundhouse kick (30 seconds each, left and right)
6:00–7:00    Side kick (30 seconds each, left and right)
7:00–7:30    Combination (left foot forward): Jab (L), uppercut (R), front kick (L)
7:30–8:00    Combination (right foot forward): Jab (R), uppercut (L), front kick (R)
8:00–8:30    Combination (left foot forward): Jab (L), cross (R), roundhouse (L)
8:30–9:00    Combination (right foot forward): Jab (R), cross (L), roundhouse (R)


The exact indication of the next blow is undetermined, but it will most likely involve some combination of
  1. Voice (“Jab, Cross, Hook, Hook”)
  2. Lighted Targets
  3. External display
The “proper form” is ultimately determined by the strength of the hit.  Each target is equipped with a force sensor, and a “square hit” indicating good form, will be judged by incurring a force reading above a certain threshold.  In addition to controlling the pace of the combination, some indication will be made to inform the boxer of the strength of the hit.  The exact indication is undetermined, but it will most likely be some combination of
  1. Sound Effect – Volume indicating force reading
  2. LED Rainbow : red-yellow-green – more LEDs lit for higher force.  probably requires some funky shift resistor programming.  ugh
NOTE:  I did consider an alternative of putting sensors in the gloves and fashinonisng some sort of shoe.  However, I did not want to have wires coming from the body impeding the workout.  Also, proper target placement is important for form.

Shopping List:

  • Kickboxing Heavy Bag and stand
  • Boxing Gloves, wrist wraps
  • MANY Force Sensors
  • MANY Resistors
  • Speakers (if i decide to use sound)
  • LED Rainbow Row
  • Shift Register
  • “Target” construction is still not defined.  Are they lighted? raised? don’t know yet
  • Duct tape or Velcro

Challenges and Learning opportunities:

  1. iBuffy coordinates a large number of sensors with a large number of outputs.  Electronics will have to accommodate more than previous projects.
  2. iBuffy must be impeccably crafted to account for the abuse it will endure.  Also, I hope to create something finished looking- no loose wires to entangle the workout.
  3. There is a design challenge of motivating a healthy active lifestyle.  The success of the iBuffy project depends heavily on entertainment value to motivate a hard workout.

~ by katylinn on April 6, 2010.

One Response to “iBuffy – The Interactive Kickboxing Heavy Bag (proposal)”

  1. Check this out- maybe it’ll help 🙂


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