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Lost Values

Jogging over a Distance

Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

Living far away from friends and work colleagues reduces opportunities for informal interaction and shared experience, such as those experienced when going jogging together. Jogging over a Distance is a prototype that employes spatialised audio to allow you to converse with a remote jogging partner while maintaining an awareness of your relative levels of exertion.

Social joggers often run with others as a means to socialise as well as to gain extra motivation to exercise. We discovered that many social joggers value the ability to have conversations with their partners and use their exercise sessions as a way to stay in touch with their friends. For casual joggers, being able to carry on a conversation can also be an indicator that they are running at a suitable pace: not too fast and not too slow for an optimal health benefit. This is often referred to as the "Talk Test".

To help in finding social jogging partners, one solution is to enable people to jog with remote friends and other remote joggers. With Jogging over a Distance, jogging partners could live in opposite parts of the world, yet share the experience of jogging together.

Similar to jogging side by side, the Jogging over a Distance prototype transforms the conversation into spatialised audio to simulate hearing one's partner in front, to the side, or behind. Each jogging partner puts on a pair of headphones and wears the remaining equipment in a small waistpack.

While our previous work focussed on pace awareness, the current prototype supports awareness of exertion intensity: if your heart rate is faster, your partner's voice sounds like it is coming from behind you; if your heart rate is slower, your partner's voice appears to come from in front of you. Heart rate data is collected wireless from a chest belt.

Similar to a collocated setting, the spatialised audio cues runners when to speed up or slow down in order to "stay" with their partner. By accounting for each partner's maximum heart rate and optimal training zone, distant runners can run together although they have different physical capabilities. In other words, a fit runner can run with an unfit one, but they can both still "push" one another to their preferred exercise level. Thus, the system allows joggers to do something that is not possible when running side by side - to challenge their capabilities while running with friends who run at different speeds.

We would like to thank Shannon O'Brien and Alex Thorogood who worked on prior versions and evaluations on the topic of remote jogging with the Floyd. We also thank the University of Melbourne and the CSIRO ICT Centre; and Andrea Taylor and Elena Corchero for the pictures.


Jogging over a Distance received a special mention at the 1st international NOKIA Ubimedia MindTrek Awards, 5 October 2007.


  • High resolution project images

  • Visit Floyd's Exertion Interfaces website for video and additional project information.