Saturday, April 1, 2017

SwimTrain exergame increases social presence

Swimming is such an incredible recreation and fitness activity. Although clearly an older project from Microsoft Research, this SwimTrain Exergame might be a useful tool for beginner and advanced swimmers alike to get feedback on their team and individual stroke rates.

By wearing a waterproof armband, information is passed along via vibration, and audio patterns to inform swimmers of their placement and or stroke rates programmed via their coach.

I was able to find some recent work from this project including this 2016 paper examining group fitness capabilities.

I was intrigued to hear some of the participants comments from using SwimTrain including they liked to hear the names of the other swimmers and made them feel like they were all swimming together and was more friendly.

Unfortunately swimming with a smartphone on is not the most convenient package, it would be interesting to see if there is another wearable or NFC, Bluetooth system that could handle the communications data packages.

Enriched social experiences during swimming Participants reported that the use of peephole-style feedback and referring to other players by their nicknames evoked feelings of social awareness and presence, and helped form social bonds with other players: “Even though each player used a separate lane, it [SwimTrain] felt like swimming in a single lane all together [...] Since it kept announcing the nicknames, it made me wonder who that person was.” [P8] “This game allowed me to feel like I was swimming together with other people, and evoked a friendly feeling, even if I was swimming alone.” [P7]

The SwimTrain exergame makes swim workouts fun again:

Click here to read more of ExerGame Lab's archived posts involving swiming exergames. 

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