Exploring Haptic Feedback in Exergames

Proceedings of 13th IFIP TC 13 International Conference (2011), pp. 18-35, doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-23771-3_2
Experiments
Tasks
Findings

Does haptic feedback help to balance group exercise for people of different physical abilities, help to guide players to safe and healthy levels of interaction, and increase presence in virtual exergames?

Variables

    Haptic Fidelity
  • haptics (on/off) - haptic feedback for each game through the exercise bike or gamepad or none
System Info

Displays
Input Hardware
Software
None

XNA 3.1/ C# to develop the three games; 5.1 audio speakers

Participant Info

The participants were members of the Queen's University community in Ontario, Canada. The majority of participants reported playing video games at least a few times a month. Three participants rarely or never exercised, five exercised once or twice a week, and 16 exercised three or more times a week. Participants were paired, all but four of the participants had known their partners for at least two months. Participants were chosen based on ability to play video games on a gamepad and to operate a recumbent exercise bicycle.

Total # Age Range Gender Balance
24 18 - 42

Users engaged in a virtual tug-of-war through pedaling on their own exercise bike. The game lasted for one minute, the user who had moved the trucks on the screen closer to their side of the screen won.

Interaction and Environment

Interface

Users were located in different rooms. In the haptic condition, pedal tension for a player was increased as the trucks moved more towards that player's side of the screen, and decreased as it moved towards their opponent's side. Pedal tension was constant for the non-haptic condition.

The environment was a simple sky/ground setting with two trucks attached by a chain pictured, one for each user. A line denoted the center of the screen for users to pull the trucks past.

Dimensionality Scale Density Visual Realism
2.5D Small Low Medium
Metrics

  • user preference - participants were asked how the perceived the balance of competition, and to state their preferences between the haptic/non-haptic versions of the games.
  1. There was a significant direct effect of haptics (on/off) on user preference for a interactive experience of the ve task.

    Users reported that they preferred the haptic condition and that it allowed for more equal competition than the non-haptic condition. This was supported by the average distances to the start line at the end of the game, this was much lower in the haptic c

    Specificity: Somewhat specific

Users attempted to shoot as many on-screen balloons as possible by moving and shooting with the Xbox 360 gamepad. The speed of pedaling dictated how fast balloons were launched, and therefore how many points were possible There was a maximum cadence for pedaling (80 RPM), past which no balloons were launched.

Interaction and Environment

Interface

Users pedaled the exercise bike as close as possible to the maximum cadence in order to maximize their scoring chances. The user's cadence was shown to the user visually on a monitor in the non-haptic condition, and through vibration of the gamepad in the haptic condition.

The environment consisted of a background split vertically with an avatar for one user on each side of the split. Balloons appeared at arbitrary locations on the user's side of the split.

Dimensionality Scale Density Visual Realism
2.5D Small Medium Low
Metrics

  • user preference - users were asked their preference between versions and which condition better allowed a constant pedal pace.
  • presence - engagement questionnaire
  1. There was a significant inverse effect of haptics (on/off) on user preference for a interactive experience of the ve task.

    Users preferred the non-haptic condition version of the game and perceived that it allowed them easier constant pedal cadence than the haptic condition.

    Specificity: Somewhat specific

  2. There was a significant inverse effect of haptics (on/off) on presence for a interactive experience of the ve task.

    Users felt more engaged in the non-haptic condition than in the haptic condition.

    Specificity: Somewhat specific

Users raced virtual tricycles around a circular track. The first user to complete three laps won the game. Steering was automatic, and the faster a user pedaled the exercise bike, the faster their virtual tricycle moved.

Interaction and Environment

Interface

In the haptic condition, the terrain depicted on the virtual track affected pedal tension. Asphalt had default tension, ice had half that of asphalt, and mud twice that of asphalt. Pedal tension was constant in the non-haptic condition.

The environment showed a circular racetrack with two virtual tricycles representing the users. Players had a small display in the upper corners of the screen indicating what lap they were on. Mud, asphalt, and ice were represented as brown, black, and white portions of the track, respectively, contrasted with the green background.

Dimensionality Scale Density Visual Realism
2.5D Small Low Low
Metrics

  1. There was a significant direct effect of haptics (on/off) on presence for a interactive experience of the ve task.

    Users reported higher virtual presence in the haptic condition than in the non-haptic condition, and also that it felt more realistic.

    Specificity: Somewhat specific

  2. There was a significant direct effect of haptics (on/off) on user preference for a interactive experience of the ve task.

    Users reported that they preferred the haptic condition to the non-haptic condition.

    Specificity: Somewhat specific