Abstract

The unique aquatic nature of swimming makes it difficult to use social or technical strategies to mitigate the tediousness of monotonous exercises. In this study, we propose the use of a smartphone-based multiplayer exergame named MobyDick. MobyDick is designed to be played while swimming, where a team of swimmers
collaborate to hunt down a virtual monster. To this end, we take into account both human factors and technical challenges under swimming contexts. First, we perform a comparative analysis of a variety of wireless networking technologies in the aquatic environment and identify various technical constraints on wireless networking. Second, we develop a swimming activity recognition system to enable precise and real-time game inputs. Third, we devise a multiplayer game design by employing the unique interaction mode viable in an underwater environment, where the abilities of human communication are highly limited. Finally, we prototype MobyDick on waterproof off-the-shelf Android phones, and we deploy it in real swimming pool environments (n = 8). Our qualitative analysis of user interview data reveals certain unique aspects of multiplayer swimming games.