Maintaining and modifying pace through tactile and multimodal feedback

Huimin Qian, Ravi Kuber, Andrew Sears, Emma Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Older adults are recommended to remain physically active to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and to maintain psychological well-being. At the same time, research also suggests that levels of fitness can be raised among this group. This paper describes the development and evaluation of a mobile technology, which enables older adults to monitor and modify their walking habits, with the long-term aim of sustaining appropriate levels of physical activity. An empirical study was conducted with twenty older adults to determine the feasibility of the proposed solution, with results indicating that tactile signals could be perceived while in motion and could support participants in walking at a range of paces. However, the effects were difficult to discern due to limitations of the hardware. In response, a novel low-cost prototype was developed to amplify vibrations, and effectiveness of redundant auditory information was investigated with the goal of enhancing the perception of the cues. A second study was conducted to determine the impact of multimodal feedback on walking behavior. Findings revealed that participants were able to maintain a desired level of pace more consistently when redundant auditory information was presented alongside the tactile feedback. When the visual channel is not available, these results suggest that tactile cues presented via a mobile device should be augmented with auditory feedback. Our research also suggests that mobile devices could be made more effective for alternative applications if they are designed to allow for stronger tactile feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-225
Number of pages12
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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