While fitness exercises vary a lot in form and effect, they have one common element that appears on different levels: rhythm. We find a 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.
In a series of experiments, I explored where rhythmic impulses can be attached to the body of the user, how the impulse can feel and in which way it can improve the experience. Therefore I built a software tool that allowed me to control a vibration motor and apply different patterns of vibration and levels of intensity to it.
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 rhythm. The pulse follows a steady sine waveform: 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.
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