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Kiss, Francisco; Woźniak, Paweł W.; Scheerer, Felix; Dominiak, Julia; Romanowski, Andrzej; Schmidt, Albrecht ORCID: 0000-0003-3890-1990 (4. May 2019): Clairbuoyance: Improving Directional Perception for Swimmers. Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 4.-9. Mai 2019, Glasgow, UK.


While we usually have no trouble with orientation, our sense of direction frequently fails in the absence of a frame of reference. Open-water swimmers raise their heads to look for a reference point, since disorientation might result in exhaustion or even drowning. In this paper, we report on Clairbuoyance - a system that provides feedback about the swimmer's orientation through lights mounted on swimming goggles. We conducted an experiment with two versions of Clairbuoyance: Discrete signals relative to a chosen direction, and continuous signals providing a sense of absolute direction. Participants swam to a series of targets. Proficient swimmers preferred the discrete mode; novice users the continuous one. We determined that both versions of Clairbuoyance enabled reaching the target faster than without the help of the system, although the discrete mode increased error. Based on the results, we contribute insights for designing directional guidance feedback for swimmers.