Microsoft Research Asia is working with Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology on a research project called SwimTrain which encourages group fitness exercises such as group spinning and swimming. In this case, they have chosen Swimming as their fitness exercise. People often exercise together instead of working out alone for various reasons including building social relationships, motivating themselves to exercise more, and extracting personal enjoyment out of the activity. This project enables people to do it even when they are in different locations.
This project includes an app for your smartphone, which, with a waterproof case and a pair of underwater headphones, lets swimmers join virtual teams to cooperate and compete. It uses all the great tech packed into your mobile phone to evaluate your progress, coordinate with your team, and provide sensory feedback, keeping your “train” running, and keeping you entertained, all while getting fit.
SwimTrain fitness swimming game, allows a group of people to have localized synchronous interactions over a virtual space. The game uses competitive and cooperative phases to help group members acquire group-wide awareness. The results of our user study showed that SwimTrain provides socially-enriched swimming experiences, motivates swimmers to follow a training regimen and exert more intensely, and allows strategic game play dealing with skill differences among swimmers.
You can read about this project in detail here.