Digital technologies for endurance athletics

In order to develop the skills and capacity in endurance athletics such as long-distance running, open water swimming and cycling, digital technologies have become an increasingly important aspect during practice and racing.

Heart-rate monitoring, watt-power meters, GPS-based distance measurement are among the core technologies that has opened up a wast field of opportunities in learning more about how to further develop as an athlete. Today, amateur athletes are able to track, analyse and adapt their training in similar ways as professional athletes. 

There are some great research studies and peer-reviewed papers that cover different aspects of this development. Some of the papers are descriptive and explain how technologies has become a vital part of the sport, other papers suggest new technical possibilities.

Düking, P., Hotho, A., Holmberg, H. C., Fuss, F. K., & Sperlich, B. (2016). Comparison of non-invasive individual monitoring of the training and health of athletes with commercially available wearable technologies. Frontiers in physiology7, 71.

Fister Jr, I., Ljubič, K., Suganthan, P. N., Perc, M., & Fister, I. (2015). Computational intelligence in sports: challenges and opportunities within a new research domain. Applied Mathematics and Computation262, 178-186.

Hassan, M., Daiber, F., Wiehr, F., Kosmalla, F., & Krüger, A. (2017). Footstriker: An EMS-based foot strike assistant for running. Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies1(1), 2.

Ianella, F., & Morandini, A. (2017). Digital innovation in the sport industry: the case of athletic performance.

Lee, V. R., & Drake, J. (2013). Digital physical activity data collection and use by endurance runners and distance cyclists. Technology, Knowledge and Learning18(1-2), 39-63.

Lee, V. R., & DuMont, M. (2010). An exploration into how physical activity data-recording devices could be used in computer-supported data investigations. International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning15(3), 167-189.

Malkinson, T. (2009, September). Current and emerging technologies in endurance athletic training and race monitoring. In Science and Technology for Humanity (TIC-STH), 2009 IEEE Toronto International Conference (pp. 581-586). IEEE.

Nylander, S., Tholander, J., Mueller, F., & Marshall, J. (2014). HCI and sports. CHI’14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 115-118.

Temir, E., O’Kane, A. A., Marshall, P., & Blandford, A. (2016, May). Running: A Flexible Situated Study. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2906-2914). ACM.

Tholander, J., & Nylander, S. (2015, April). Snot, sweat, pain, mud, and snow: Performance and experience in the use of sports watches. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2913-2922). ACM.

Wakefield, B., Neustaedter, C., & Hillman, S. (2014). The informatics needs of amateur endurance athletic coaches. CHI’14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2287-2292.

Woźniak, P., Knaving, K., Björk, S., & Fjeld, M. (2015, August). RUFUS: remote supporter feedback for long-distance runners. In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (pp. 115-124). ACM.

Our history is based on great insights by great people

Great researchers from top-left Susanne Bödker, Bo Dahlbom, Börje Langefors, Lucy Suchman, Pelle Ehn

Suddenly one realise that it is too easy to forget about publications from back in the days that really have had an impact on my understanding of our field of study.  Have a look at these papers and books and imagine which texts of today will be on a list 20-30-40-50 years in the future.

Dahlbom, B. (1996). The new informatics. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, 8(2), 3.

Pfaffenberger, B. (1988). The social meaning of the personal computer: Or, why the personal computer revolution was no revolution. Anthropological Quarterly, 39-47.

Bødker, S., Ehn, P., Knudsen, J., Kyng, M., & Madsen, K. (1988, January). Computer support for cooperative design. In Proceedings of the 1988 ACM conference on Computer-supported cooperative work (pp. 377-394). ACM.

Suchman, L. A. (1987). Plans and situated actions: The problem of human-machine communication. Cambridge university press.

Ehn, P., & Kyng, M. (1985). A tool perspective on design of interactive computer support for skilled workers. DAIMI Report Series, 14(190).

Weizenbaum, J. (1966). ELIZA—a computer program for the study of natural language communication between man and machine. Communications of the ACM, 9(1), 36-45.

Langefors, B. (1963). Some approaches to the theory of information systems. BIT Numerical Mathematics, 3(4), 229-254.

See also: An Interview with Börje Langefors, by Bubenko, J., & Dahlstrand, I. (2003, June). . In IFIP Conference on History of Nordic Computing (pp. 7-22). Springer, Boston, MA.


Shift in direction

Once and awhile one is confronted by points in time when it is time to reflect upon what one is doing and if there is a need to adjust ones direction in (work-) life. Early this year, I decided to assume a role where I will spend more time on organisational and leadership tasks and actively move away from the domain of emergency and crisis response.

I will continue to adopt ethnography along with design thinking when exploring wicked problems and in shaping new possible solutions. The cases will most likely shift from IT-use in organising large-scale response in emergencies, pandemics and forced migration. Instead I hope there will be studies oriented towards the use of digital technology for coaching in individual and team-based physical performance.

However, the absolute majority of my time will be spent on building and maintaining an organisational infrastructure that allow the scholars at the department of Applied IT to succeed and excel in their professional efforts.

As a consequence of this, the content of this blog will shift focus, away from the domain of emergency and crisis response.

Digital infrastructures for sustainable urban environments

Digital infrastructures for sustainable urban environments

This autumn, I have the pleasure to be teaching at the Digital Leadership masters programme at the Department of Applied IT. The course that I am involved in is the Digital Infrastructure course where we learn about infrastructures as a socio-technical phenomena. The literature ranges from the seminal work by Susan Lee Star, to intriguing text by Brian Larkin in Cultural studies, to more information systems oriented text from Ole Hanseth, as well as insights from the PD-community with texts by Helena Karasti.

After an initial theory-block course participants move into a design-block where they are exploring how digital infrastructures might be designed to improve sustainability in urban environments. This design challenge is run in collaboration with WHITE, one of Swedens most prominent architect agencies.

The design challenge is super open-ended and the students are therefore adopting design thinking and human centered design in order to explore the problem and identify possible solutions, such as increased democracy in local planning processes, urban farming and hyper local food production, digitally  adjustable streets, safety solutions in the home-sharing economy, incentive driven road-taxes, and several other great ideas.

HCD workshop DL.jpg
Prototype of an autonomous urban farming infrastructure

Using design thinking in an academic course is not without problems. For example, do we have any studies showing that design thinking and its various practical methods work? Thankfully, we have a great study by Micheli, Wilner, Bhatti, Mura & Beverland showing that design thinking is not unproblematic, there is a lack of evidence of its usefulness, along with a not too solid theoretical foundation. The authors highlights the need for more studies of practice and they indicate that the community of practice perspective could be a good foundation for further explorations.

Screenshot 2018-11-02 at 11.36.31

Micheli, P., Wilner, S. J., Bhatti, S. H., Mura, M., & Beverland, M. B. (2018). Doing Design Thinking: Conceptual Review, Synthesis, and Research Agenda. Journal of Product Innovation Management.

Infrastructure view on refugees use of digital tools on their journey to Europe

Now and then, one stumble across papers that make an impact on how you think about your own research. The other day, I read the following paper by Gillespie, Osseiran and Cheesman. 

Gillespie, M., Osseiran, S., & Cheesman, M. (2018). Syrian refugees and the digital passage to Europe: Smartphone infrastructures and affordances. Social Media+ Society, 4(1) [link]

In this paper they study the use of information technology by refugees during their journey to and through Europe. It was particularly refreshing to see how they use ’affordances’ by Gibson as well as ’ infrastructures’ by Star to unpack how information technology use present  possibilities but also vulnerabilities for refugees. 

This is an insightful paper that opens up an important discussion of the need of more studies on socio-technical dimensions in the refugee context. 

This paper underline the importance of studying groups that typically are not percieved as technology users. This study illustrates how refugees are a very interesting user category in technology use research. Lastly, the paper also shows that a better understanding of sociotechnical entanglement is important in order to formulate meaningful policies in the refugee context.

Important studies presented at the NEEDS2018 conference

At the Third Northern European Conference on Emergency and Disaster Studies (NEEDS) on March 21-23 there we many insightful presentations on important aspects on crisis and disaster response. There were specifically two presentations that really made an impression on me. One was done by Myfanwy James and the other by Darryl StellmachThe photos below give an indication of the topics.



Inspirerande arbete av Jesuit Refugee Services i Amman.

I samband att jag besökte Jordanien för ett par veckor sedan fick jag möjlighet att återigen besöka organisationen Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) i Amman. Organisationen som leds i Jordanien av Insherah Mousa. JRS genomför ett omfattande och synnerligen viktigt arbete med att skapa social trygghet och erbjuda utbildning till personer som befinner sig på flykt och nu försöker få till en hållbar tillvaro i Amman. Det sociala arbetet sker genom hembesök hos flyktingfamiljer i syfte att säkerställa att familjens alla medlemmar får fotfäste och en förankring i lokalsamhället. 

Insherah Mousa berättar att arbetet handlar om att säkerställa att familjerna inte hamnar i isolerande omständigheter utan får hjälp med medicinska, sociala, försörjnings- och utbildningsmässiga behov.  I detta sammanhanget skall det dock poängteras att det främst handlar om hjälp till självhjälp där den enskildes ansvar är stort men där JRS bidrar med stödjande aktiviteter. Deras sociala arbete baseras på team med män och kvinnor som i många fall har egna erfarenheter av flykt och migration, utbildats av JRS i psykosocialt arbete och där de tillsammans i grupper av minst en kvinna och en man genomför uppsökande arbete, knackar dörr och besöker de som i många fall ingen annan bryr sig om att söka upp och över tid på olika sätt ge stöd till.

Kanske skulle svenska kommuner kunna hämta en hel del inspiration från det fantastiska arbetet som JRS med Insherah Mousa och hennes kollegor bedriver.

Jonas, Jumana (utbildningskoordinator JRS), Insherah (Country Manager JRS)