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Actively Mobile
A runner’s companion

Author: Jennifer Bove (USA)
Supervisors: Neil Churcher and Heather Martin

Idea/problem/context As the mobile phone becomes omnipresent in our lives, its role has developed from a technical device into an extension of ourselves. We usually carry one with us, and leave it on. Yet though mobile living takes a different form for each user, our phones all look and behave remarkably similarly. This project explores how the mobile phone we know might mutate to adapt to many specialist contexts, in this case to that of recreational running.

What it is Actively Mobile is a small disc worn on the wrist, arm or hip – wherever is most comfortable – of those engaged in physical exercise. Incorporating the functionality only available currently by carrying several devices, it offers a range of facilities, and accesses a variety of services, of particular use to runners: a heart-rate monitor, a GPS locator, and time and speed tracking. To aid motivation it also allows two or more people, running together but in different places, to share conversation, their current performance (to hear each other’s pace for example), and music.

How it works In the disc’s indentations, shaped to fit the hand, nestle a small number of buttons. It is controlled through these buttons or by voice commands. Output is through an audio headset.

Value/Potential Actively Mobile illustrates how a multi-functional mobile device need not be general-purpose but can instead be closely tailored, in both physical form and quality of interaction, to a specific context of use. Though its market is a niche one, it is predicted that purchasers will value its power to enhance their enjoyment of physical exercise. Clearly, too, its principles are also applicable to other ‘on-the-go’ sport or work activities.

download QuickTime Movie (video by Andrea Pierri) - 1.22 MB


Jennifer Bove
2005 graduate
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