Wintersemester 2020/2021, BA/MA Product Design eLab

Metron

A better workout routine through haptics.

 

Working out at home has never been so popular. However it still can’t compare with exercising in the gym and being coached. Virtual fitness is mostly screen-based, and therefore limited to a visual and auditory interaction. This slimmed down digital trainer is missing some key features: users receive no feedback on whether they carry out an exercise safely and correctly, and not every exercise position allows users to view the screen. Nor would they wish to – exercise should offer a welcome break from screen time. 

 

While fitness exercises vary a lot in form and effect, they have one common element that appears on different levels: rhythm. We find rhythm in the individual repetitions and the sets and intervals that contain them. Its impact is significant – the right rhythm serves as a guide for the right intensity and execution in terms of tempo and breathing. 

 

Rhythm is something we feel, therefore the interaction design should be haptic. User tests revealed that the wrist is a pleasant and effective spot to receive haptic feedback. It’s a sensitive area where we’re already used to reading information – like a watch or testing our pulse. It also allows for freedom of movement. 

 

Metron is an application that guides individual workouts with dynamic haptic feedback. It converts a fitness routine into an oscillating pulse that keeps you in the rhythm. The pulse follows a steady sine wave form: the vibration signal is always on, but its intensity fades in and out analogous to the movement. This flowing, dynamic feedback places emphasis on the highs and lows of the exercise. 

 

Metron works with the hardware embedded in a typical smartwatch. Equipped with a tactile engine that can be programmed, most smartwatches would be capable of transmitting Metron’s dynamic vibration signal. Once the routine is set up, Metron sends the signal to the watch, and the workout can begin.

Participants Johannes Schmidt
Project categorySemester Project Project subjects BA/MA Product Design
Metron
Metron
A better workout routine through haptics.
All rights reserved Johannes Schmidt
Visualization of the vibration
Visualization of the vibration
The graphic shows some of the different wave shapes of the vibration patterns which were tested and explored.
All rights reserved Johannes Schmidt
Interface concept
Interface concept
The concept of the application includes an interface to set up the customized workout session (left) and an interface to monitor the workout routine (right).
All rights reserved Johannes Schmidt
Experiments
Experiments
In a series of experiments the vibration motor was attached to the wrist and the bone behind the ear of the user and also to a dumbbell as a representative tool involved in the workout.
All rights reserved Johannes Schmidt
How it works
The video shows the starting position of an excise and the low intensity of the vibration the peak position of and excise (e.g. a squat) and the high intensity of the vibration visualized in the interface of Metron.
All rights reserved Johannes Schmidt