Recipients of Brock funding for Canada Games-related research announced

Even though August 2022 is a long way off, the specter of COVID might hang over some fans who would otherwise attend the Canada Summer Games in person.

Augmented Reality (AR), technology enabling people to be virtually in a scene far away from their physical location, is a great way to engage those reluctant to attend the Games, says Abdul Rehman Ashraf.

But the fledgling AR technology still has many bumps in how it’s delivered and experienced, he says.

As one of 11 researchers chosen to receive a grant from the 2020 round of Brock University’s VPR Canada Games Grants program, the Associate Professor of Marketing hopes to change that.

Ashraf and his team aim to advance AR application guidelines from the tech company Apple by developing an instrument that would measure how well mobile phone users can use AR technology on their phones.

“Designing an app for fully-fledged AR gear is completely different from designing one for a mobile phone,” says Ashraf. “Users can easily become overwhelmed and frustrated because the usability principles for mobile AR applications have been ignored.”

He says Apple’s current guidelines don’t provide details of the relative importance of design features such as interactivity and artwork or direction on evaluating AR mobile applications, hence the need to develop “a comprehensive mobile AR application usability instrument.”

He says this will help researchers and practitioners analyze and overcome usability problems of AR mobile applications.

“Our instrument will allow practitioners and researchers interested in exploring the benefits and usage of AR applications during the 2022 Canada Games to study to-be-developed, to-be-implemented, and existing mobile AR applications,” he says.

The next phase of Ashraf’s research will test the suitability of their mobile AR application usability instrument in predicting AR usage intention, loyalty and fan engagement during the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.

Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon announced that Ashraf and 10 other researchers and scholars have received up to $7,000 funding for their proposals through the VPR Canada Games Grants program. The special fund enables Brock University researchers and scholars from across campus to undertake research or a creative activity in any discipline and on any topic that relates to the Canada Games.

Kenyon says the Canada Summer Games are “a remarkable research opportunity that puts the performance, history, community impact and culture of sport in the spotlight.

“Brock researchers are bringing creativity and expertise of many kinds to this opportunity,” he says. “The breadth of their insights is astonishing.”

Recipients of the 2020 VPR Canada Games Grants are:

  • Abdul Ashraf, Goodman School of Business, “Reaching and Engaging Canada Games Fans with Augmented Reality”
  • Karen Fricker, Faculty of Humanities, “Circus on the Canal: Exploring connections between water sports, circus and spectators”
  • Asif Khowaja, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “The Economic Burden of Injuries Across 10 years of Canada Games Competitions, 2009-2019”
  • Duncan Koerber, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Social Media and Large Sporting Events: Social Media Crisis Monitoring of the Niagara 2022 Canada Games”
  • Jae Patterson, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Developing Athletic Expertise Based on Motor Learning Practice Structures”
  • Kyle Rich, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Municipal collaboration in regional event hosting processes: The case of Niagara 2022”
  • Valdeep Saini, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Translating Behavioural Momentum to Athlete Performance”
  • Philip Sullivan, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Mental toughness and injury rehabilitation behaviors in elite youth sport in Canada”
  • Donna Szoke, Faculty of Humanities, “Painted Turtles”
  • Peter Vietgen, Faculty of Education, “PARTicipation Niagara 2022: A Celebration of Sports & Art through the Eyes of Niagara’s Young Artists”
  • Elizabeth Vlossak, Faculty of Humanities, “Digitizing the photographic legacy of the Canada Games”

This is the second year that the VPR Canada Games Grants program is being offered, with 11 researchers also being announced last year.

The Canada Games is expected to bring more than 5,000 athletes from across the country to Niagara from Aug. 6 to 21, 2022 to compete in 18 sports.

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