University of Tasmania
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The use of wearable ambient displays to enhance awareness of physical activity

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posted on 2023-05-27, 10:29 authored by Burns, PJ
There has been extensive research into using computers to help people to monitor their physical activity. Most existing self-monitoring approaches employ high complexity, high-engagement interfaces with a focus on numbers, text and graphics. An alternative are low-complexity interfaces - those that employ simple metaphors to convey information - such as ambient displays. Research has shown that these interfaces could be equally effective in assisting users to monitor and subsequently change their behaviour. Engagement with existing smartphone-based or fixed ambient displays presupposes that the user is also engaged in some other unrelated activity (looking at a phone or walking past a screen), limiting their usefulness. Wearable ambient displays that are persistently visible to the user could overcome this problem, and have the additional benefit that they help to engage the wearer with others in discussions around the information displayed. Using a design process facilitated by accessible rapid prototyping tools such as 3D printing, I developed a wearable device that could track the user's level of physical activity and, implementing a novel ambient display design, provide the user with information about their own activity levels and those of others. I evaluated the final device in a user study with 40 participants over six weeks. The results, both qualitative and quantitative, indicated that participants were able to engage with the ambient visualisation and it motivated them to think about and discuss physical activity. Further research is needed to establish the potential for long-term behaviour change.


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Copyright 2016 the author This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia Licence. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 AU)

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  • Open

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