Designing interactive multiswimmer exergames: A case study

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The unique aquatic nature of swimming makes it difficult to use social or technical strategies to mitigate the tediousness of monotonous exercises. In this study, we propose the use of a smartphone-based multiplayer exergame named MobyDick. MobyDick is designed to be played while swimming, where a team of swimmers collaborate to hunt down a virtual monster. To this end, we take into account both human factors and technical challenges under swimming contexts. First, we perform a comparative analysis of a variety of wireless networking technologies in the aquatic environment and identify various technical constraints on wireless networking. Second, we develop a swimming activity recognition system to enable precise and real-time game inputs. Third, we devise a multiplayer game design by employing the unique interaction mode viable in an underwater environment, where the abilities of human communication are highly limited. Finally, we prototype MobyDick on waterproof off-the-shelf Android phones, and we deploy it in real swimming pool environments (n = 8). Our qualitative analysis of user interview data reveals certain unique aspects of multiplayer swimming games.