Abstract & Introduction (Chapter 1)
- Category: Level 3, Computing Project (Dissertation)
- Published: Thursday, 06 September 2018 08:47
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Mental Support Mobile
Application for Sports
Undergraduate dissertation submitted in
partial fulfillment of the regulations
governing the award of the degree of
University of Sunderland
The main goals of this project were the assessment of the mental and physical condition of people leading an active sports lifestyle, and helping them with advice. Development of a mobile application has been selected as a solution to achieve these goals.
Two disciplines met in the implementation. Sports science knowledge was integrated with information technology. Therefore, the Department of Sport and Exercise Science of the University of Sunderland and a student from the Department of Computing and Engineering and Technology participated in the project.
In the first phase of the project, a schedule was set which listed the expected tasks and available intervals for their implementation. As a first step, problems were defined which needed to be solved in order to achieve our goal. In addition, the scientific background of functions needed to implement the project were also identified.
Special attention was paid to ethical and professional rules to ensure professional solutions for planning and development. Summarising the experience of analyses, a mobile application with an Android operational system was created. Mostly, the Waterfall method paired with Prototyping proved suitable for one-man development. Intended features were developed consecutively, and were immediately tested. Approved methods, like TOPS or Flamingo Balance test of Eurofit programme, were used for tasks in the tests.
Development was followed by systematic and wide-ranging tests. Tests covered the operation of the mobile application as well as the existence and quality of intended features and services.
Evaluating the whole project was the next stage after testing. A Usability Test was carried out as a part of the evaluation. As it was done only a few days before deadline, no further modifications were possible. In the end, a final conclusion was made, and tasks to be completed in the future were identified.
During the project, a mobile application was created which used external (Xiaomi Mi Band) and internal sensors capable of testing the users’ mental and physical condition for different tasks. Results are recorded in a database and the history can be displayed on graphs which can be shared. The application analyses collected data and can make suggestions designed to achieve improved sports performance.
There is a gap in the market of sport performance enhancing software. There are a limitless number of them that check mental and physical states, but none of them record and establish the relation between the two states. A large market is available for the support of an active life and this industry makes a significant amount of profit. Almost every well-known manufacturer has IT equipment available and software solutions. But these solutions only consider the physical aspect. There are no applications available that include the support of mental state; although the two are connected. There are specialised methods and experts that aid professional athletes, but a number of people have to rely on their own resources
Mobile phones have become one of the most commonly used devices in modern life. The abilities of these devices today are used for more than just audio phone calls. There are a large number of sensors that can be connected to the devices, and if made to a high quality are sometimes built into the device. These extra extensions provide a wider range of possibilities. The basic problem can be solved by using this mobile telecommunication device. The project is to develop a mobile application that is widely available to fulfil it's purpose. One of the critical points of the application is that some physical exercises cannot be conducted safely. For safety purposes, an external device may be integrated into the application, which could be a solution. In conclusion, the project sets out to develop a mobile application using internal and external sensors, and these are effective for monitoring physical and mental state. The collected data is securely stored in a database, which is able to show previous data and to process this data, thus aiding improved performance.
The purpose of this document is to provide help understanding the project’s subject, as well as its problems. The document is split into several chapters and they go through the development process, showing the functions, and how these could be achieved within a mobile application.
The possible range of problems listed in the literature have been reviewed and analysed in the second chapter. The main subject of the project concerns physical and mental states when good sport results are achieved. Every problem's occurrence has been researched and all the solutions, that are known, need to be checked in order to successfully complete the project. Consequently, the project has to cover the improvement of sport results via the use of software, which needs to be reviewed by using a Literature Review. User behaviour and motivation will be studied too.
In the third chapter, related problems and their solutions are analysed. This part of the document also aids the project in achieving continuous progress. Adequate planning is needed to create the functional and non-functional elements. At the start of the project, the group of users has to be defined, as well as the tasks that they can perform, the environment of use, and technology used. This is summarised by a PACT analysis. The later part of the study involves learning about existing applications. A full summary of the project can be found in the Definitive Brief, where the functional and non-functional requirements of the application are discussed. Analysis of the different mobile devices and the opportunities can also be found here.
The plans of the application are found in the forth chapter. Due to the complexity of the application, the time for other academic studies were not well allocated. Due to studies, the planning phase could only start in January, but the development had to be started too in order that the project could be finished. There was very little time left for the planning. Global planning was not done, so the planning was done during the start of the development of the function, or after the fact. The planning only involved the direction of the development, methods to save data, application structure, media sources, and interaction needs.
Following the limited time spent on the planning, most of the time was spent on this chapter. The complete application had a number of functions planned. For their execution, a previously unknown solution had to be found. The first important aspect was to secure user handling, and functions connected to this. These are registration, login, data modification etc. The next part was the measurement of mental state, which was done by using a questionnaire. Then, one by one, the development of physical tests. In the meantime, the connection problems of external devices had to be fixed too. The result of the completed tests had to be recorded in a database. The final values had to be charted on a graph and the sharing of this information to be enabled. Lastly, the data had to be analysed and the results had to be shown, with advice given based on these results. There was insufficient time to work out effective advices because, due to the uniqueness of the application, a larger amount of data is required, which can only be gathered in the continuation of the project.
To ensure a working system, sufficient tests must be completed and all faults need to be found and fixed. For testing purposes we have to use all possible tools that are given and, if possible, involving the groups concerned. Keeping these aspects in mind when performing a thematic testing of the application, the structure and the functions of the application have been tested separately. Also, the software has been tested on other devices the developer had available. For the testing groups 5 previously tested and working types of tablets were bought. Five compatible Mi Band fitness bands were also purchased. The tablets and different versions of fitness bands have been tested together. The results of the tests were summarized in tables, with screen shoots stored for verification, and these have been inserted into the Appendices.
The testing followed the chapter of evaluation. Firstly, the research done for the literature. Followed by the evaluation of the application. The application was also checked using the Heuristic Evaluation method. It was also evaluated by the sponsor and sample users. The sample users are students who came from the University of Sunderland Sport Science department. The evaluation took place during their study hours using the tablets and Mi Band wristbands. For this study, Consent Forms and Study Sheets were written, as well as task lists and evaluation questionnaires. The group test only took place nearing the hand-in date of the dissertation, so there was time to evaluate the information, but not for correcting any emerging problems.
At the end of the project, the lessons learned about the project during its development and newly acquired knowledge. The conclusion does not only mention the successes of the project, but also any shortcomings. Tasks performed in the future and the care needed are also covered.
In order to ensure that copyright laws were not broken, the sources were free to use, and have been well marked in the source of content and references. The references not only list the literature researched for the study, but also includes information used in the development, testing, and evaluation.
At the end of the document an appendix can be found with a chronologically organised list of other literature used for the program, and images which were made during the project's lifetime. A number of documents were not added due to their size (documents with a large number of pages, such as the Learning Logs or the documents produced during the group test). Only a couple of example pages have been included. The rest of the documents are available in electronic form on the ePortfolio and on the included DVD. This is also true for the recording of the application's showcase, which was also recorded on a DVD. The application's source code and installable .apk file are also included on this DVD. The back-up storage of the more important files are also accessible through the external server that was used for data handling.