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Advances in Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2015, Article ID 953794, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/953794
Research Article

Vibrotactile Stimulation as an Instructor for Mimicry-Based Physical Exercise

1Tampere Unit for Computer-Human Interaction (TAUCHI), School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere, Kanslerinrinne 1, 33014 Tampere, Finland
2The Unit of Human-Centered Technology (IHTE), Department of Pervasive Computing, Tampere University of Technology, P.O. Box 553, 33101 Tampere, Finland
3Audio Riders, Ltd., Envallinkuja 4B, 01900 Nurmijärvi, Finland

Received 18 June 2015; Revised 11 September 2015; Accepted 29 September 2015

Academic Editor: Marco Mamei

Copyright © 2015 Jani Lylykangas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The present aim was to investigate functionality of vibrotactile stimulation in mimicry-based behavioral regulation during physical exercise. Vibrotactile stimuli communicated instructions from an instructor to an exerciser to perform lower extremity movements. A wireless prototype was tested first in controlled laboratory conditions (Study 1) and was followed by a user study (Study 2) that was conducted in a group exercise situation for elderly participants with a new version of the system with improved construction and extended functionality. The results of Study 1 showed that vibrotactile instructions were successful in both supplementing and substituting visual knee lift instructions. Vibrotactile stimuli were accurately recognized, and exercise with the device received affirmative ratings. Interestingly, tactile stimulation appeared to stabilize acceleration magnitude of the knee lifts in comparison to visual instructions. In Study 2 it was found that user experience of the system was mainly positive by both the exercisers and their instructors. For example, exercise with vibrotactile instructions was experienced as more motivating than conventional exercise session. Together the results indicate that tactile instructions could increase possibilities for people having difficulties in following visual and auditory instructions to take part in mimicry-based group training. Both studies also revealed development areas that were primarily related to a slight delay in triggering the vibrotactile stimulation.