EAI Endorsed Transactions on Ambient Systems 15(7): e2

Research Article

Using Degraded Music Quality to Encourage a Health Improving Walking Pace: BeatClearWalker

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  • @ARTICLE{10.4108/icst.pervasivehealth.2015.259072,
        author={Andreas Komninos and Mark Dunlop and David Rowe and Allan Hewitt and Steven Coull},
        title={Using Degraded Music Quality to Encourage a Health Improving Walking Pace: BeatClearWalker},
        journal={EAI Endorsed Transactions on Ambient Systems},
        volume={15},
        number={7},
        publisher={EAI},
        journal_a={AMSYS},
        year={2015},
        month={8},
        keywords={exercise, physical activity, healthy lifestyle, mobile interaction, audio interfaces},
        doi={10.4108/icst.pervasivehealth.2015.259072}
    }
    
  • Andreas Komninos
    Mark Dunlop
    David Rowe
    Allan Hewitt
    Steven Coull
    Year: 2015
    Using Degraded Music Quality to Encourage a Health Improving Walking Pace: BeatClearWalker
    AMSYS
    EAI
    DOI: 10.4108/icst.pervasivehealth.2015.259072
Andreas Komninos1,*, Mark Dunlop1, David Rowe1, Allan Hewitt1, Steven Coull1
  • 1: University of Strathclyde
*Contact email: andreas.komninos@strath.ac.uk

Abstract

Meeting the target of 8000 steps/day, as recommended by many national governments and health authorities, can provide considerable physical and mental health benefits and is seen as a key target for reducing obesity levels and improving public health. However, to optimize the health benefits, walking should be performed at a “moderate” intensity. While there are numerous mobile fitness applications that monitor distance walked, none directly support walking at this cadence nor has there been any research into live feedback for walking cadence. We present a smartphone fitness application to help users learn how to walk at a moderate cadence and maintain that cadence. We apply real-time audio effects that diminish the audio quality of music when the target walking cadence is not being reached. This provides an immersive and intuitive application that can easily be integrated into everyday life as allows users to walk while listening to their own music and encourages eyes-free interaction. In this paper, we introduce our approach, design, initial lab evaluation and a controlled outdoor study. Results show that using music degradation decreases the number of below-cadence steps, that users felt they worked harder with our player and would use it while exercise walking.