The iSport project explores how pervasive computing technologies can enhance sport experiences for spectators at sporting events and training efficiency for elite athletes. Bodily expression and physical capabilities are at the center of the research effort based on an ambition to explore how the human body can be used as an interface with computational artifacts and technologies.
Sponsored by ISIS2 we chose to explore the domain of sports, since we here are most likely to find experts of bodily expression. The point of departure for this exploration has been the notion of Kinesthetic Interaction (KI). At InteractiveSpaces KI has previously been explored in museum contexts, schools, libraries etc. The domain of sports has been approached in order to take KI to its limits in relation to elite athletes and spectator experiences.
This part of the iSport project explores the so-called interactive sports where participants are faced directly with each other either individually or in team; taekwondo, boxing, volleyball, football, handball and so on. We aim at developing a piece of interactive training equipments to hone what we call the athlete’s kinesthetic empathic interaction skills. This means the micro-tactical skills the athlete use to read and react to the human opponent in front of him or her. These skills are a combination of visual and physical input and output through physical movement in a way that resembles, or takes place at the level of, reflexes. The aim of the equipment is exactly to distill a modus of interaction and allow athletes train these modes to hone their overall game-skills and thus – hopefully – their chances of winning the next match.
So far, the development of sports equipment has primarily been influenced by a wish to increase the quality of already known equipment. The few examples of interactive technologies we have seen are focused on single users competing with a machine in a very limited mode of interaction. In such cases the athlete only trains their reaction time, which can be important enough, but does not necessarily increase their in-game skills.