Follis: A movement-based 3D input device for gymnastic ball usage

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Follis is a movement-based 3D input device/system for object manipulation in the virtual environment with the help of gymnastic balls. The system development is based on the four main aspects of UX Life-Cycle: analysis, design, prototyping and evaluation.

The number of employees doing their daily tasks on the computer is increasing. That creates several problems for them. The authorities offer various activities to remedy these problems, such as standing up while calling, going to colleagues’ tables and getting up every 30-45 minutes.

The main purpose of the system is to solve the immobility problems of people with prolonged sitting times through the combination of virtual reality and a gymnastic ball.

The secondary purpose is to provide a new locomotion technique by combining both artificial and physical locomotion.

During the system development, we carried out appropriate training together with a gymnastic ball trainer and a physiotherapist.

The reliability of the system is rated by 17 sports scientists and one gymnastic ball expert. The results show that the “Follis” system can provide suitable exercise sections for gymnastic balls for those who work in an office. The system can be a new solution to longer sitting problems and a new technology for virtual locomotion.

Background

Computer use in the office environment mostly requires sitting at a desk and working with a desktop computer. Employees are at risk of various musculoskeletal disorders, obesity, low blood flow, muscle pain, etc. due to inactivation.

The aim is to solve these problems by combining gymnastic ball and virtual reality (VR), at least by encouraging employees through VR. In addition, the ergonomic structure and space of the gymnastic ball, as well as the chair, allows it to be used in an office setting.

The solution sought is to get users to perform gymnastic ball movements in the virtual environment – the solution is based on tracking users’ body movements using the gyroscope technology of a smartphone. We wanted to get real-time input from users and let them manipulate objects in a 3D environment. Thus the system provides locomotion in virtual environments (VEs). The purpose of the system is simply to encourage office workers to do gymnastic ball movements during the day. If the office workers want to do a certain amount of gymnastics, it will definitely help protect themselves from the harm of prolonged sitting. Based on this point, the system provides gymnastic movements when playing VR games.

Story Board

Narrative Story Board

Design Solution

To design the new system as a technical solution, we agreed to track the user with a smartphone and program virtual reality games to perform basic gymnastic ball movements. These virtual games require basic pelvic movements, arm extension, leg movements, and adequate balance. Thus, the user will play a role in gymnastic ball training without knowing it. The total training is 15 minutes for experienced and inexperienced users.

Technical Flow Diagram

We designed 5 different games. Each game has 3 minutes to end. The games are designed as EndlessRunner games.

User Needs And Requirements

Requirements elicitation and requirements negotiation through interviews and observation. The results of the analysis. The technical and functional requirements of the design solution to improve sitting behaviour.

Technical Requirements

  1. The system must provide an exercise pillow.
  2. The system offers sufficient space in one room.
  3. The system must provide 15 minutes of gymnastic ball training.
  4. The system should provide basic warm-up movements for pelvic tilts, hopping, and arm extensions
  5. The system must have energetic music.
  6. The system must offer a safe training period.

Functional Requirements

  1. The system must provide a gymnastic ball.
  2. The system must provide a smartphone.
  3. The system must provide a gymnastic ball cover.
  4. The system must provide a slot on the cover for the smartphone.
  5. The system must provide a gymnastic cushion.
  6. The system must provide a long-range lightning cable for smartphones.
  7. The system must provide an HTC Vive with all setup.
  8. The system must work on Unity Remote 5.
  9. The system must use Unity 3D.

Games

The mini-games have been designed and grouped to provide the different types of movements that we defined for the gymnastic ball exercises. The number of these movements (pelvic movements, arm extensions and hopping) can change depending on the game. Some of these games are primarily designed for pelvic tilts, others are combinations of all movements.

GUI

The user can simply select games from the main menu by using the HMDs controller.

Minigames

The first game – Training Center – was designed for practising ball control and the VR environment. It requires ten times the inclination of the front/back and left/right pelvis

Training Center

The second game – Candy Train – was designed to allow hard stretching/hopping and soft pelvic tilts

The third game – Cafe Racer – was developed to enable predominantly hard pelvic inclinations and less soft stretching/jumping movements. The game is one of the most fluid games in the system.

The fourth game – Wild West – is designed to meet all movement requirements and perform the high-intensity gym ball workout. Stretching, jumping, and pelvic tilt movements are urgently required to complete the game.

The fifth game – Tarzan – is designed to achieve the same amount of arm stretching/jumping and pelvic movements.

DEMO VIDEO

Test Results

The results were analyzed and documented. According to the analysis, the system is being adapted to the needs of users to a large extent. It can provide proper gym ball workout with inclines, hops and pelvic stretching. The overall result of the SUS form is 70.33, which means that the system with the grade “B” is above average. The system can be used without learning too many things before using it. The gym ball as an input device for the 3D environment can artificially provide effective VR locomotion. Additionally, the combination of virtual reality and gym ball use could be an excellent solution to stimulate physical gym ball training.

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