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Bringing mobile guides and fitness activities together: a solution based on an embodied virtual trainer
Authors:Buttussi F., Chittaro L., Nadalutti D.
Published in:Proceedings of MOBILE HCI 2006: 8th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, ACM Press, New York, September 2006, pp. 29-36.
Abstract:Sports and fitness are increasingly attracting the interest of computer science researchers as well as companies. In particular, recent mobile devices with hardware graphics acceleration offer new, still unexplored possibilities. This paper investigates the use of mobile guides in fitness activities, proposing the Mobile Personal Trainer (MOPET) application. MOPET uses a GPS device to monitor user’s position during her physical activity in an outdoor fitness trail. It provides navigation assistance by using a fitness trail map and giving speech directions. Moreover, MOPET provides motivation support and exercise demonstrations by using an embodied virtual trainer, called Evita. Evita shows how to correctly perform the exercises along the trail with 3D animations and incites the user. To the best of our knowledge, our project is the first to employ a mobile guide for fitness activities. The effects of MOPET on motivation, as well as its navigational and training support, have been experimentally evaluated with 12 users. Evaluation results encourage the use of mobile guides and embodied virtual trainers in outdoor fitness applications.