The interactive punching bag

Petre, Marian; Baines, Chris; Baker, Michael; Copcutt, Ed; Martindale, Adam; Matharu, Taranjit and Petre Eastty, Max (2012). The interactive punching bag. ACM.




The ‘interactive punching bag’ transforms a conventional punching bag into a programmable ‘smart device’ enhanced to provide various forms of stimulus and feedback (sound, lights, and displayed images). The physical characteristics of each punch are captured using impact sensors and accelerometers, and LEDs, speakers and an associated display can be used to provide different prompts and responses. Interactions are logged over time for analysis. The bag was devised as a means of investigating how to design interactions in the context of a fun, physical, familiar object. Preliminary studies suggest that users are surprised and engaged, and that first-time users spend more time in their first encounter if the bag is running an ‘unexpected’ program (e.g., giggling on impact rather than grunting). However, some users are sensitive about the nature of images and sounds associated with the bag, particularly where there is a conflict with social expectations or values. So far, the interactions that hold users’ attention are those, like the musical ‘punching bag keyboard’, that combine moderate physical activity with a creative element or an intellectual challenge.

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