Faster. Stronger. Better? Designing for Enhanced Engagement of Extreme Sports

Abstract

The primary focus of this prototype driven research is based on the convergence of sensor data, interactive visualization, wearable and mobile technology within the realm of extreme sports. The areas of mountain biking and climbing (while vastly popular activities) has received little attention from the Human Computer Interaction and Interaction Design communities. I am interested in researching, prototyping, evaluating, and conceptualizing various ways in which sensor data and other metrics of information can be effectively communicated to a person while conducting sporting activities without drastically altering the core aesthetic of the sport. Methodological outcomes of this research will address how prototypes affect practice and include new frameworks intended for working with users in special interest communities.

Inspiration and Method

In this research I specifically investigated how technology could play a role in heightening athletic awareness without compromising the core experience of a given sport. Designing for Heightened Awareness is achieved through immersion and active engagement of an activity in order to deepen understanding about the design context.

Many of the technical systems that we rely on today do not lend themselves particularly well to interaction during high movement scenarios. This research seeks to explore other methods that can be purposed for use in these dynamic situations; attempting to strike a balance between technology, sports and human experience.

Result

The main contribution of this research consists of a string of examples, exploring the notion of heightened awareness as it pertains to sport. Additionally I provide models, and frameworks focused on designing for activity related performance which stem from a process of reflectionary design practice and active immersion within communities to gain deeper understanding into the contextual boundaries of the design space. It is my hope that this work will influence anyone who is intent of casting technology in the light of an enabler, striving to find the balance between experience and how we perceive the world while engaged in sporting endeavors.