Exertion Interfaces

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Connectedness, the sense of being in touch, is an intangible bond between human beings that is necessary for both psychological and physical wellbeing. In other words, healthy people are connected people.  One way to improve connectedness over distance is through the use of exertion interfaces.  We wanted to explore the effect of physical interactions of varying intensity.


A demonstration was developed as a prototype for discovering the varying ways participants interact with a force-input device and the resulting affects on building connectedness. This demonstration was presented at a local conference. In a team of two, each participant stood at a controller station in separate locations. These controller stations were connected via a local network. Each controller station contained a “Power Grid” exercise machine, a video camera, and a monitor providing a high quality video conference with the other player. The “Power Grid” machine contained a game piece requiring physical exertion of different muscles. This game piece was used as the controller of the cooperative game in which the two participants commanded a shared virtual object in real time within a 2D space. The task was to use the shared object to chase down particles before time ran out. These particles were impossible to catch if only one player was present, encouraging the cooperation and communication of both parties to complete the task.

Insulting the competitorplayer.jpgStarting the exerciseWinner


During the demonstration of the device, conference attendees were videotaped and comments were noted. We were encouraged to see that players interacted with the device with a wide-range of forces. Some applied gentle pressure, others a steady force, and yet others applied full-body movement into pulling and tugging the device. Participants connected with their team-mate with multiple uses of communication, including hand gestures and facial expressions. Perhaps because of the physical aspect of the input, participants expressed an expectation for haptic feedback.



Acrobat pdf Mueller, F., & Gibbs, M. R. (2008). The Design of Networked Exertion Games. Journal of Virtual Reality and Broadcasting, 5, 13.

Acrobat pdf Mueller, F., Vetere, F., Gibbs, M. (2007) Design Experiences with Networked Exertion Games. PerGames ’07-Pervasive Gaming Applications (acceptance rate 50%)

Acrobat pdf Mueller, F., Stevens, G., Thorogood, A., O’Brien, S., Wulf, V. (2007) Sports over a Distance. Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, Special Issue on Movement Based Interaction. Springer Publisher.



Push'N'Pull was developed in the Connecting People group at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation by Alex Thorogood. The original webpage is at http://www.ict.csiro.au/page.php?did=224.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 August 2009 23:36