Woodrow W. Winchester III


MARIETTA‚ Ga. (Feb. 4, 2016) — Blending hobbies with academic interests can make…

Georgia (Feb 4, 2016)MARIETTA‚ Ga. (Feb. 4, 2016) — Blending hobbies with academic interests can make research much more impactful, as Woodrow W. Winchester III has discovered.

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Winchester, associate professor of systems and industrial engineering in the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology and a self-proclaimed “weekend warrior athlete,” has been exploring connected fitness technologies – those fitness trackers and performance wearables that have exploded onto the consumer marketplace in recent years.

“My research interests reside at the nexus of health and fitness, technology and design,” said Winchester, a human factors engineer. In January, Winchester’s latest research, focusing on why systems engineering is vital to the success of connected fitness technologies, was published by the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE).

According to Winchester, systems engineering bridges the interactivity between technology and human systems, how they behave with the technology and how they are motivated by it. Creating that system architecture, and understanding the relationship between the technology and the user, in advance of a product concept, can prove difficult for non-engineers, Winchester explained.

“The way a product is conceptualized, through its ecosystem or experience, and how that is manifested into the concept, is an important role that systems engineering takes in the connected fitness technologies field,” he said.

“How do we design it to have that experience with human integration?” he asked. The human factor challenges in the design, development and deployment are what intrigues Winchester as an engineer.

Winchester is involved as a technology consultant and brand ambassador with VibeRide, an indoor cycling studio in Midtown Atlanta, in which he describes their signature rhythmic ride as high-intensity cardio meets dance on a stationary bike.

He acknowledges that people want to use technology for the betterment of their health and fitness goals, and connected fitness technologies are already proving useful for the estimated 15 million users.

“These tech tools can provide insight and data to connect the dots,” he said. “These data, appropriately translated and presented, can offer meaningful and actionable insights on health and wellbeing.”

Connected fitness technologies such as FitBit, Jawbone Up and Wahoo, an Atlanta-based startup, are just a few of the activity trackers in the fitness wearables market, a $2 billion industry.  Highlighting the systems engineering challenges in this industry, several companies, such as Nike and UnderArmour (UA), have abandoned the singular device approach to connected fitness for more integrative and holistic approaches as seen with the recently introduced UA HealthBox or OMsignal’s smart bra concept.

Winchester, along with undergraduate research assistant Valerie Washington, fellow faculty member Keely Clay, assistant professor of apparel and textiles at Kennesaw State, and Okey Nwoke, ATL Fashion Tech Collective, are actively seeking industrial collaborators to advance the development of more systemic approaches to the design of connected fitness technologies, and offer more useful and desirable concepts.

Winchester, who joined the College in 2013, began research on human-centered design while he was an assistant professor at Virginia Tech. There, he also founded and directed Virginia Tech’s Laboratory for User-Centric Innovations in Design.

As Winchester continues to research this ever-changing field of fitness and the involvement of systems engineering, he knows that the intersection of human behavior and technology is complex, but it has an inherent ability for success.

“I believe that the potential for using this technology will ultimately improve health outcomes, especially in underserved and marginalized populations.”



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu