The original concept of redesigning Exercising into something more social and interactive was tweaked and narrowed down to the specific task of redesigning the gym! Like with bus rides and the grocery store, there are a large number of people all together in one large spacious area: the difference, however, is a crucial one. The people you find on a bus, or the store, or at school are all very different. At a gym, however, the vast majority are there for a single common goal: to become healthier and fit. By redesigning the gym into something that takes advantage of this common goal we can foster a supportive network among gym members that would definitely add to their experience for the better.
Those who go to the gym on a regular basis usually keep to themselves, despite the relatively large, open space and the congregation of people with a similar interest: getting fit. There is very little difference between going to a gym and simply working out at home: most people are self-contained in either situation. Many of the exercise machines offered only aggravate the problem: most of the machines are designed as single units that accommodate and isolate an individual from other exercisers. The large number of people working towards similar goals could become an invaluable resource itself by fostering it into a supportive network. We believe that by redesigning the machines to encourage gym members to interact with each other, we help to create this supportive network among health-conscious members. Members will be able to give each other the push they need to get closer to their goals, whether by friendly encouragement or competition.
We think that by networking exercise machines together we can encourage users to interact with each other. Applying a game component to the machines also adds a more playful dimension to the usually quiet and somewhat serious atmosphere of the gym, giving users an added incentive to stick to their regular gym schedule. Games easily create an air of competition and a rush of adrenaline that encourage users to push themselves harder. Markers such as lights, flags, etc. can be used to mark what machines currently have users linked together in a game. They are also highly attractive and aesthetically pleasing, therefore encouraging users to try an interactive game via a machine. For example, when two groups of people choose to race against each other in an interactive racing game, the treads of the treadmills will light up according to a user’s team.
Devices similar to the Wii remote and Wii balance board will also be available for those who want light exercise: these devices, too, link up to other similar devices in a game. For example, users could participate in an elimination-round-style game such as Street Fighter: they would be required to use the Wii-remote and board and physically kick and punch to perform the moves. A more familiar example is Mario Brothers: users would run on a combination treadmill/ Wii-board machine. One user could be Mario and the other Yoshi. A screen would show Mario in a side-scroller, and to get Mario to run, a user would physically run. To get Mario to jump, the user would jump. The user playing as Yoshi would jump to get Yoshi to attack and run in pace with the other user to make sure Yoshi and Mario stayed together.
Machines also link to sites such as Twitter and Facebook, allowing users to post their progress or current record proudly to their friends. Through these innovations we believe the gym will transform into a more lively, supportive and active environment that fosters supportive relationships among members.
As always, click the images to see them in a larger, clearer resolution:
There are two teams of treadmill-runners: Red and Blue. The treadmill has a program in it where the bottom track lights up as the color of the member’s team, and the screen displays a blue and red car. The total number of laps the members of a team runs determines how far the car goes. The team whose car passes the finishing line first wins: it’s a collaborative effort!
All the ideas for different machines in the new gym will be finalized, and a map of the new gym and its machines will be drawn. Each type of exercise machine and its interactive qualities will be highlighted.
Very rough paper prototypes will be drawn out: we will then user-test them. Based on feedback, we would then create semi-prototypes which we will lay over existing gym equipment (for example, we would create screen prototypes which we would then lay over the screen of an existing treadmill)
We then plan on creating use case videos that show us interacting with various machines in our new gym. A small model of the gym may be created, if time permits.