HCI research has many applications outside of the laboratory. Concepts related to user experience and interactive entertainment are ingrained in several aspects of everyday life, especially with the increasing prevalence of mobile and social technology. By applying the principles of games research to systems design, we can enhance the quality of commonplace interactions, inspiring a higher level of motivation in completing otherwise unexciting responsibilities or tasks.
Gamification is a branch of games research that aims to make serious tasks more enjoyable by applying elements of game design and interaction, such as tangible rewards, progression, and playfulness, to traditionally non-game systems.
Recently, the HCI Games Group has partnered with a local Toronto company, Vintage Fitness, to create Spirit 50, a gamified online personal training program for older adults. Spirit 50 provides seniors with the opportunity to receive personalized, accessible training that suits the diverse scheduling, pacing, and medical requirements of individual clients. Many older adults face challenges related to health, mobility, and sociability that prevent them from pursuing traditional fitness programs.
With the launch of Spirit 50 this January, seniors have been given the opportunity to access a more convenient, effective means of improving and maintaining their health.Users are able to create a custom profile based upon their current fitness, barriers, and goals, to obtain a personalized exercise plan offering continued support and tips to stay in shape and achieve their fitness objectives.
Innovative projects like Spirit 50 are frequently emerging from partnerships between corporate, educational, and scientific interests, driving the evolution of the technological world. We look forward to continued development with Spirit 50 and future collaborative projects, bridging the gap between research and reality.