BackgroundAdherence to effective Web-based interventions for common mental disorders (CMDs) and well-being remains a critical issue, with clear potential to increase effectiveness. Continued identification and examination of “active” technological components within Web-based interventions has been called for. Gamification is the use of game design elements and features in nongame contexts. Health and lifestyle interventions have implemented a variety of game features in their design in an effort to encourage engagement and increase program adherence. The potential influence of gamification on program adherence has not been examined in the context of Web-based interventions designed to manage CMDs and well-being.ObjectiveThis study seeks to review the literature to examine whether gaming features predict or influence reported rates of program adherence in Web-based interventions designed to manage CMDs and well-being.MethodsA systematic review was conducted of peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) designed to manage CMDs or well-being and incorporated gamification features. Seven electronic databases were searched.ResultsA total of 61 RCTs met the inclusion criteria and 47 different intervention programs were identified. The majority were designed to manage depression using cognitive behavioral therapy. Eight of 10 popular gamification features reviewed were in use. The majority of studies utilized only one gamification feature (n=58) with a maximum of three features. The most commonly used feature was story/theme. Levels and game leaders were not used in this context. No studies explicitly examined the role of gamification features on program adherence. Usage data were not commonly reported. Interventions intended to be 10 weeks in duration had higher mean adherence than those intended to be 6 or 8 weeks in duration.ConclusionsGamification features have been incorporated into the design of interventions designed to treat CMD and well-being. Further research is needed to improve understanding of gamification features on adherence and engagement in order to inform the design of future Web-based health interventions in which adherence to treatment is of concern. Conclusions were limited by varied reporting of adherence and usage data.
BackgroundSmartphones are ideal for promoting physical activity in those with little intrinsic motivation for exercise. This study tested three hypotheses: H1 – receipt of social feedback generates higher step-counts than receipt of no feedback; H2 – receipt of social feedback generates higher step-counts than only receiving feedback on one’s own walking; H3 – receipt of feedback on one’s own walking generates higher step-counts than no feedback (H3).MethodsA parallel group randomised controlled trial measured the impact of feedback on steps-counts. Healthy male participants (n = 165) aged 18–40 were given phones pre-installed with an app that recorded steps continuously, without the need for user activation. Participants carried these with them as their main phones for a two-week run-in and six-week trial. Randomisation was to three groups: no feedback (control); personal feedback on step-counts; group feedback comparing step-counts against those taken by others in their group. The primary outcome measure, steps per day, was assessed using longitudinal multilevel regression analysis. Control variables included attitude to physical activity and perceived barriers to physical activity.ResultsFifty-five participants were allocated to each group; 152 completed the study and were included in the analysis: n = 49, no feedback; n = 53, individual feedback; n = 50, individual and social feedback. The study provided support for H1 and H3 but not H2. Receipt of either form of feedback explained 7.7 % of between-subject variability in step-count (F = 6.626, p < 0.0005). Compared to the control, the expected step-count for the individual feedback group was 60 % higher (effect on log step-count = 0.474, 95 % CI = 0.166–0.782) and that for the social feedback group, 69 % higher (effect on log step-count = 0.526, 95 % CI = 0.212–0.840). The difference between the two feedback groups (individual vs social feedback) was not statistically significant.ConclusionsAlways-on smartphone apps that provide step-counts can increase physical activity in young to early-middle-aged men but the provision of social feedback has no apparent incremental impact. This approach may be particularly suitable for inactive people with low levels of physical activity; it should now be tested with this population.
Open-source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so anyone can study, modify, distribute, make and sell the design or the hardware based on that design. Some open-source hardware projects can potentially be used as active medical devices. The open-source approach offers a unique combination of advantages, including reducing costs and faster innovation. This article compares 10 of open-source healthcare projects in terms of how easy it is to obtain the required components and build the device.
Abstract. This multidisciplinary paper reports on a large-scale field trial, designed and implemented by a group of social scientists, computer scientists and statisticians, of a new smartphone-based app for the promotion of walking in everyday life. The app, bActive, is designed for a more diverse range of users than the typical active-lifestyle app, since it requires neither additional equipment nor a great deal of commitment to exercise. As a result, it can raise awareness of walking and promote walking amongst those with only a casual or hesitant engagement with the topic. The 6-week randomised controlled trial with 22-40 year-old male participants (N=152) indicates that bActive prompted users to increase the amount of walking they did by encouraging them to value and increase walking that is incidental to normal everyday activities. Longitudinal data analysis showed that use of the app increased walking by an average of 64% but did not find any evidence to suggest that the inclusion of comparative social feedback improves the impact of such apps on male participants.
Abstract. We provide a dynamic systems interpretation of the coupling of internal states involved in speed-dependent automatic zooming, and test our implementation on a text browser on a Pocket PC instrumented with an accelerometer. The dynamic systems approach to the design of such continuous interaction interfaces allows the incorporation of analytical tools and constructive techniques from manual and automatic control theory. We illustrate experimental results of the use of the proposed coupled navigation and zooming interface with classical scroll and zoom alternatives.
Abstract.Mobile technologies, such as tablet devices, open up new possibilities for health-related diagnosis, monitoring, and intervention for older adults and healthcare practitioners. Current evaluations of cognitive integrity typically occur within clinical settings, such as memory clinics, using pen and paper or computer-based tests. In the present study, we investigate the challenges associated with transferring such tests to touch-based, mobile technology platforms from an older adult perspective. Problems may include individual variability in technical familiarity and acceptance; various factors influencing usability; acceptability; response characteristics and thus validity per se of a given test. For the results of mobile technologybased tests of reaction time to be valid and related to disease status rather than extraneous variables, it is imperative the whole test process is investigated in order to determine potential effects before the test is fully developed. Researchers have emphasized the importance of including the 'user' in the evaluation of such devices; thus we performed a focus group-based qualitative assessment of the processes involved in the administration and performance of a tablet-based version of a typical test of attention and information processing speed (a multi-item localization task), to younger and older adults. We report that although the test was regarded positively, indicating that using a tablet for the delivery of such tests is feasible, it is important for developers to consider factors surrounding user expectations, performance feedback, and physical response requirements and to use this information to inform further research into such applications.
In this article we describe a novel approach to pedestrian navigation using bearing-based haptic feedback. People are guided in the general direction of their destination via a minimal directional cue, but additional exploration is stimulated by varying feedback based on the potential for taking alternative routes. This extreme navigation method removes the complexities of maps and direction following, concentrating on allowing pedestrians to actively explore their surroundings, rather than offering perfect, but passive, turn-by-turn guidance. We simulate and build two mobile prototypes to examine the possible benefits of this approach, then further extend its impact by considering how social media might be incorporated to provide a real-time, dynamically-evolving map of physical locations. The successful use of our mobile prototypes is demonstrated in a realistic field trial, and we discuss the results and interesting participant behaviours that were recorded, validating the predictions from their earlier simulation. We continue by simulating the use of publicly-posted status updates and pictures as a proxy for location mapping, showing how these methods can produce comparable navigation results to real field trials, highlighting their potential as tools for real-world social journeys.
Background The UK government recommends that children engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 60 min every day. Despite associated physiological and psychosocial benefits of physical activity, many youth fail to meet these guidelines partly due to sedentary screen-based pursuits displacing active behaviors. However, technological advances such as 3D printing have enabled innovative methods of visualizing and conceptualizing physical activity as a tangible output. Objective The aim of this study was to elicit children’s, adolescents’, parents’, and teachers’ perceptions and understanding of 3D physical activity objects to inform the design of future 3D models of physical activity. Methods A total of 28 primary school children (aged 8.4 [SD 0.3] years; 15 boys) and 42 secondary school adolescents (aged 14.4 [SD 0.3] years; 22 boys) participated in semistructured focus groups, with individual interviews conducted with 8 teachers (2 male) and 7 parents (2 male). Questions addressed understanding of the physical activity guidelines, 3D model design, and both motivation for and potential engagement with a 3D physical activity model intervention. Pupils were asked to use Play-Doh to create and describe a model that could represent their physical activity levels (PAL). Data were transcribed verbatim and thematically analyzed, and key emergent themes were represented using pen profiles. Results Pupils understood the concept of visualizing physical activity as a 3D object, although adolescents were able to better analyze and critique differences between low and high PAL. Both youths and adults preferred a 3D model representing a week of physical activity data when compared with other temporal representations. Furthermore, all participants highlighted that 3D models could act as a motivational tool to enhance youths’ physical activity. From the Play-Doh designs, 2 key themes were identified by pupils, with preferences indicated for models of abstract representations of physical activity or bar charts depicting physical activity, respectively. Conclusions These novel findings highlight the potential utility of 3D objects of physical activity as a mechanism to enhance children’s and adolescents’ understanding of, and motivation to increase, their PAL. This study suggests that 3D printing may offer a unique strategy for promoting physical activity in these groups.
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