Planning Report - Running with Sound: Android Application Simulating Sound Sources at GPS Coordinates Using Smartphone Sensors



To come



The chosen subject, being combining a running application with guiding sounds, is to our knowledge unusual. This makes the subject academically interesting, since it is a new area to explore. Computer games make use of sound to enhance the user experience, but with modern smartphone sensors the same could be done in an outdoor environment to create a virtual reality in sound.

There are currently multiple running applications making use of GPS technology in order to measure speed and distance. Some, like “Zombies, run!” even tracks the speed and simulates monsters approaching (audio) if the user’s speed is too slow (Six to Start, 2014). However, the sound effects are not directional, meaning that the direction of which the sound is not important for the game’s functionality - it acts more like a cool feature.

By combining sound with the running game concept it would be possible to hear something, for example a coin, and by running towards it be able to obtain it when its location is reached. At the same time monsters could be heard from a specific direction and by running in another direction they could be avoided. These features will be a great motivator for people struggling with motivation to workout on a regular basis.

Other academical parts that will not be mainly focused on but still could be useful to have in mind is the behaviour science of what makes a game fun and motivating. Therefore the target group of the application is not only people who run regularly, but also people who need motivation to do so.

Also it might be useful to investigate some shortest paths algorithms for the running track.

All of this will be encapsulated in an Android application.


The general purpose of the project is to make an application that:

  1. Registers running activity and presents its statistics.

  2. Uses the techniques of sound and sensors in a meaningful way.

  3. Makes it enjoyable and motivating for people to exercise.


Main goal

The goal of the assignment is to create a fully functional running game that is fun to use. To do this, the following milestones have been created.

  1. First of all the functions of a running app will be implemented. This will include:

    • GPS-positioning of the user.

    • The bearing of the user. (The user rotation relative to the compass pointing north)

    • GPS-destinations that the user can run towards.

    • Statistics after a run.

      • Time - The time you have been out running.

      • Distance - The total distance off your jogging.

      • Speed - Time per kilometer.

      • Altitude - Altitude-changes during the route.

    • Running High Scores.

    • Best time for given distances.

  2. Secondly game functions will be implemented:

    • Sound

      • The sound will be directional, meaning that the sound will appear to come from a specific direction of which the runner is supposed to run towards - by balancing the audio level between the left and right ear (Roads, 1996).

      • The level of the audio will change as the user is approaching or running away from the GPS coordinate set as target.

    • Putting a monster on the map, which will be a moving destination. Games with monsters might be:

      • BETA - With the help of audio-navigation you have to run to a predefined spot on the map.

      • Freerun - You can run anywhere you want without any special goals while monsters are chasing you.

      • Quest - With the help of audio-navigation you have to run to a predefined spot on the map while monsters are chasing you.

      • Under attack - You can run anywhere you want but the amount of monsters that are chasing you are continuously growing and are becoming faster until they catch you.

      • Shooter - A mode more focused on hunting then running. While out running use your cellphone as a weapon and hunt down monsters.

      Each of these modes will require a set of features, some probably easier to implement than others. A table of the required features can be found in .

    • Game High Scores

      • Most coins taken during a run

      • Most monsters avoided during a run

    Scheme of what features are needed for different modes\label{fig:Scheme-of-features}

    Scheme of what features are needed for different modes\label{fig:Scheme-of-features}

  3. During the implementation of the game modes, a BETA-version will be released. The BETA will then be evaluated usability wise by some test persons. After getting feedback from the test group the app will be updated accordingly to make sure that is is useable and fun to use.

  4. Finally, if there is time, some advanced and further game functions will be implemented:

    • Multiplayer - Run together with a friend in the same game-world with the same monsters and goals.

    • Some game mode including Geocaching1 or Geocaching coordinates.

Plan B - Radio orienteering

If the initial idea of a person running towards a directional sound turns out to be a failure, the already written code will be used to make an application to emulate radio orienteering - a sport where the competitors have to find hidden controls by listening to a signal caught up by a receiver carried by each contestant (Radio-orientering Sverige, 2014).

Instead of real controls and receivers, this application will rely on generated GPS coordinartes and audio. By turning around with the phone in hand, the audio level will change depending on if there is a control in the direction of which the phone is pointing. To clarify: no panning will be involved - just the volume of the audio changing.

The GPS part of a radio orienteering application would work similar to how it would work in our initial application idea. The most drastic change would be the audio not being panned, but instead relying completely on the level of the sound always being in the centre - making it an easier task to get working well. That would eliminate the problems occurring when trying to make a sound appearing from a certain direction.

  1. An outdoor “Treasure hunt” using GPS (Groundspeak, Inc., 2014).