Pervasive Games and Platforms
This research explores the potential of pervasive social exertion games transforming solitary exercises into social activity. It is difficult for many people with their busy and erratic urban lifestyles to engage in such social sports frequently as such activities take place at a strict designated time and place. As a result, many people perform physical training in the form of a solitary exercise that can be done at a more convenient time and place, such as treadmill running at home. These solitary exercises, however, are mostly monotonous, repetitive and boring, and, moreover, performed in isolation. Such disadvantages discourage people from exercising regularly, depriving them of the many known benefits of. Even worse, solitary exercise does not satisfy the need for social interaction, which is important for an individual’s health and sense of well-being.
We developed Swan Boat, a pervasive game which makes treadmill running an exciting, enjoyable social activity. Swan Boat is a multiplayer team racing game in which a team steers its boat with a high degree of collaboration between team-mates, employing the metaphor of a swan paddle-boat within a racing context. Our initial results suggest that incorporating collaborative and competitive synchronized interaction increases fun and sociality in otherwise isolated monotonous exercises. We also developed Exertainer, a sensor- and exercise equipment- enabled, interactive entertainment system to support advanced exercise applications. Early reports on this work have been presented in ACM Multimedia 2009, Ubicomp 2009 and also published in ACE 2009.