IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - January 2021 - 9

MyF itnessPa l (https://play.google.com /store/apps/
details?id=com.myfitnesspal.android)].
Gamification and Exergaming
Gamification [45] and exergaming [46] are two motivational approaches with the goal of changing users' sedentary
lifestyles. Gamification is defined as the use of video gaming elements in nongame contexts [45]. For example, Consolvo et al. [47] developed UbiFit Garden, which embeds
body sensors and a mobile display to encourage their users
to participate in physical activities. In addition to gamification, another game-related area is exergaming, which is
popular in indoor environments. Oh and Yang [46] defined
the most common exergames as video games that require
physical activity in order to play. In a prominent example,
Nurkkala et al. [48] used video projectors to develop an
exergaming simulator for gym training, exercise testing,
and rehabilitation.
Rabbi et al. [49] and Rawassizadeh et al. [50] found that
users are not motivated to manually log their exercise,
especially when they are not accompanied by personal
trainers. Therefore, external motivation, like gamification, is required to encourage manual data entry. With
that in mind, Rabbi et al. [49] proposed a virtual exercise
assistant with a virtual reality head mounted display and
an attached, miniature IoT sensing device that can track
users' activities. Another prominent example of physical
activity gamification is Pokémon GO [51], which resulted
in US$100 million sales a month after its release [90],
although this app does not have an indoor context.

and wearable applications, is to present physical activities
using numbers and graphs. However, existing approaches
that present information with graphs and numbers lack
actual coaching advice on the exercise sessions [56]. For
example, GUIs may present the calories burned and the
average heart rate during the exercise session, but not
instruct users to adjust body movements and advise them
about how to avoid injury while exercising. This is because
most wearables are attached to users; without a third-person point of view [53], such devices can collect information about only a very limited number of body movements.
The screens of wearables and smartphones are personalized and offer efficient communication, but they still
require users to look at them, which increases users'
cognitive load and shifts their focus [57]. A big screen
mounted on a wall or a training machine can make the
information easier to digest [30] and mitigate the burden of
cognitive load involved in processing information from a
smartphone or wearable. (These ambient interfaces will
be discussed further in later sections.)
Sound
The ear is like a biological equivalent of a USB port [3].
Many users listen to music while performing physical exercise [58]. Notably, a study by Nakamura et al. [59] has
shown that listening to one's preferred music can improve
exercise endurance. The widespread use of headphones
while exercising leads to the introduction of headphones
with sensors, i.e., earpieces.

Interaction Interface
Multiple types of interaction interfaces and methods are
used to communicate with users and provide analysis of
collected physical activity information. Through a review
of the literature, we found that GUIs, sound, vibrotactile
sensations, and ambient interfaces are being used for this
purpose. Figure 2 presents an example that includes three
interaction interfaces (except ambient interface).
GUIs
Modern smartphones are powerful enough to handle
intensive computational tasks such as image processing
[52]. Data gathered from wearable sensors can be transmitted to a smartphone for further processing or visualization [53]. However, unlike wearables, smartphones are not
compact enough to be comfortably carried by the user
while exercising [54]. In addition, the proximity of wearable devices to users is higher than that of smartphones
[55], which makes them more accurate in collecting users'
physical activity data. Therefore, a hybrid approach that
uses wearables for data collection and smartphones for
analysis and review is common.
Wrist-worn wearables have miniature screens that
present information and collect user input. The most
accepted approach, used by the vast majority of mobile
	

GUI

Sound

Vibrotactile Sensation

Figure 2. The different types of interaction interfaces.

Ja nu a r y 2021

IEEE SYSTEMS, MAN, & CYBERNETICS MAGAZINE	

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IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - January 2021

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