Acceptance and Intended Use of a Feedback System for Fencing


Introduction Previous research has highlighted the importance of reaction time and precision in fencing (Gutiérrez-Cruz et al. 2015; Sorel et al. 2019). However, the systems as proposed by Gutiérrez-Cruz et al. and Sorel et al. are costly as they require high speed cameras (Vicon), force plates and a video projector. Consequently, their integration into routine training sessions is difficult. However, also the commercially available system, which has recently been investigated for its validity and reliability (De Giorgio 2021) has some technological limitations, similar to the other systems: e.g., the target area is constructed using solid materials. Consequently, hits do not feel natural for athletes. Furthermore, the system does not check whether a point was actually made using the electronics of the weapon. Additionally, the feedback capabilities of the systems are limited. In particular, none of the systems allows tracking of progress of recorded metrics. Methods In order to overcome the limiting factors identified, we created a novel system composed of an ESP32 microcontroller with an accompanying smartphone app built using Pegasos (Dobiasch et al. 2019). Two configurations of the system are shown in Figure 1. The system allows a wide variety of different training modes. Furthermore, all data is stored in a web-platform. Using this platform each training session can be analyzed. For example, reaction time for individual hits as well as mean reaction time for the whole session can be investigated. Furthermore, the system allows tracking progress. We evaluated the system using a qualitative study along the dimensions of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) (Venkatesh et al. 2003). Nine persons (see Table 1) participated in the evaluation after getting an introduction to the device and using it in a session. Results Performance Expectancy: While less experienced fencers focused on more practical aspects, such as getting feedback on their reaction time, more experienced fencers expressed their intention of substituting existing training elements with the device. Some emphasized the importance of getting feedback and easy setup. Effort Expectancy: All participants reported that they feel that the system is easy to use. Social Influence: All but one participant noted that they think their peers would think using the system would be beneficial for them. However, some expressed concerns whether their coach would approve of this technology. Hedonistic Motivation: Having fun using it was expressed. However, some expressed the need of competitive elements for sustained fun. Facilitating Conditions: Participants noted that the factors important to them are an easy setup and little time required. Behavior Intention: all participants expressed their intention to use it. Most prominently, the idea of integrating it into training sessions as a way of passing time between other exercises. Discussion Unsurprisingly, the results of our investigation show that an easy setup as part of effort expectancy and facilitating conditions is important. While simple feedback seems to be sufficient for an introduction to the system, the answers show that more elaborate feedback and interactive modes have an influence on the intention for continued use.

Proceedings of WCPAS 2022 & IACSS 2022
Stefan Oppl
Stefan Oppl
Professor for Technology Enhanced Learning

My research interests include technology-enhanced learning, socio-technical systems design and HCI