Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gamercize Gets Gamers Going (GZ Spin Trainer & GZ Family Fit) - Part Deux + WIBC

This is the follow-up post I promised about 12/10/08 Gamercize post -Gamercize Gets Gamers Going (GZ Spin Trainer & GZ Family Fit)

GZ Spin Trainer

GZ Family Fit

According to Richard, the GZ Spin Trainer is planned to sell for $999 US and GZ Family Fit (3-in-1 Recumbent, Rower, and Gamercize) around $1399 US.

As suspected, gaming while rowing on the GZ Family Fit will not be on the final production model because of the difficulty of having to hold the controller and the rowing handles. Although as I start to think of it:

WIBC (Wouldn't It Be Cool) - EXERGAME IDEA #3 ... imagine playing a game where you have to row to a cadence and collect special power up bonuses, and then after hitting 5 of these bonuses you or your and your sculling pals pick up that "2nd gear" or "2nd wind" and finish the race at a PB (Personal Best).

I could also see a link into a game like Tom Clancy's Endwar integration where as you row you are accumulating points based on the game play but you also have the ability to provide feedback and encouragement to your crew playing the same room or in a RPG or MMOPRG. By saying the right things at the right time can earn you more points which in turn might give your team a competitive advantage. In physical education, we prepare our students to teach in the three domains of learning (physical, affective and cognitive) and a game like this could certainly cover all of them.

Aside from using the Gamercize features on the GZ Family Fit machine, "the use as a rower and as a recumbent will extend the appeal to the entire family - gamer or not!"

WIBC (Wouldn't It Be Cool) Exergame Ideas #1 & 2 found here.

Previous Gamercize posts here, here, and here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Psyched About Zyked

Another great speaker from May's Games For Health Conference in Baltimore was Tom Söderlund with his Alpha version of Zyked. In its current version (internet and mobile service) it aims "to make sports and exercising more fun by adding gameplay and community features." I really think this area of "exergaming" will see the most growth in the near future as it requires less equipment and technology than any exergaming/interactive fitness/video game exercise gaming system.

Other ubiquitous computing platforms and applications have been spotted around the world, but most prominently in Mad 3G connected Scandanavia (Exergame -VTT, Positive Gaming - iDance, etc...
To find other Exergame Lab articles featured ubiquitous computing applications click here!

Another well known exergame is the combo Tamagotchi-like Fizzes project from the UK 's FutureLab - although there isn't a strong tie to ubiquitous computing the goal is to keep your virtual pet by staying active. With the number of games and platforms like this - in 2009 we will undoubtedly see at least another 5-10 similar products like the earlier featured:ME2, Jinsei Game Puchi (AKA - Game of Life) Pedometer, "Sportio - au Smart Sports Run & Walk, and miCoach.

Monday, December 15, 2008

GYM Concept Car

How does this look for the ulitmate environmentally friendly exercise machine = your next car! Yes, this is just a concept car by Da Feng, a design student from Coventry University, but let's think about it for a second. You get a workout, get to work, and create little pollution, that's the TRIFECTA. In case you were wondering, here is the workout gear incorporated into the proposed lightweight injection molded magnesium alloy chassis - step machine, rowing machine, bench press, pull up simulator and arm weights. If only it weren't in mu driveway right now.
[Via Gizmodo]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gamercize Gets Gamers Going (GZ Spin Trainer & GZ Family Fit)

With an EXCLUSIVE 1st look at GZ Spin Trainer and GZ Family Fit-3-in-1 Combo-Cycle-Rower, it looks as if Richard and company (Gamercize) have been busy. These pictures were taken at a School Sport Partnership Conference (SSPC '08) recently and from all accounts are some of the first images available on the web. These new lines will go on sale in the new year. I'll update on the price when I get clarification from Richard.

The full sized spin bike will join the existing range of portable stepper and cycle exercise machines that have proved hugely popular. The GZ Spin Trainer represents the highest end of exergaming fitness training and will be available for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii.
The GZ Family Fit will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii and will also be fully compatible with all existing Gamercize products.

However GZ Family Fit (from what I understand) is a fully functional recumbent bike which should make it easier to peddle compared to the GZ Endurance Cycle which requires more of an elevated seated position. It is also a fully operational rowing machine, however I'm not sure how or if you could even play a game while rowing - now that would take talent. I will find out more details and let you know. That is if there's anybody out there reading this!

Previous Gamercize posts here, here, and here.

[Thanks Richard]

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dr.Awesome MicroSurgeon MD

From ngmoco:) comes the latest iPhone/iTouch game, which starts in motion my predication of 12 games over the next year and only means that I have to get in iPhone (or at least an iPod Touch) to try out all these games. Got to be in the know, no? For $1.99, you get to save your friends and family in your contact list from a deadly viruses. Save the Cheerleader, Save the World.

Not to be be outdone by a special "little-known fact" hidden in the iPod SDK recently released, allows you to use your iPhone/iPod Touch as a full-fledged TV game device.

[Via AppleInsider, }
And here is the rest of it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

iCharge for iPhones & Club WATT

Seeing the sharp rise in sales of smartphones including the iPhone, it was only a matter of time before these battery-charging concept devices surface. First mentioned was the handgrip charger and now a swing charger with an added bonus of having your golf swing analyzed. I think we really should think of other ways to harness our own energy because now being physically active would be: 1) enjoyable, 2) energy saving (reduces carbon footprint), 3) money saving (electrical chargers), and even ....get this....4) healthy. The potential to harness kinetic energy into stored electrical energy is not new, and a while back there was a dance floor concept from the Netherlands (Sustainable Dance Club) that proposed using technology to store the energy created by the moving dancers in a night club.

This fall they just opened Club WATT in Rotterdam an this is how the Sustainable Dance Floor works:
The dance floor converts the movement of the dancing crowd into electricity and uses this power to change the appearance of the surface of the floor. For the first time the crowd becomes an energy source that can contribute to power a club. The movement of the clubbers on the dance floor is captured to generate electricity. This electricity is used to create interaction using LED lights and smart materials in the floor. The DJ and the clubbers will be challenged to reach the maximum energy level possible. Every person is able to produce 2-20 Watt, depending on people’s weight and activity.

Dance on, Swing on, just move my friends! It's all good!

[Via Ubergizmo & Gizmodo via petitinvention via Ecofriend via Gearfuse]

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

FlingPC (Not literally)

3DiJoy Corporation joins the party of Wii-like devices that incorporate accelerometers however their device (FlingPC) is PC-based (Bluetooth & USB) and comes with 10 games. On their main website, you can download 7 more games including Moove Cooking (a la DS version Cooking Mama, AGSNTBM's Cooking Mama: Cook Off, Cake Mania: In the Mix!, and Order Up!).

Punch-O-Meter (only with insurance)

I remember Punch-Out, the arcade version of the new iPhone game Punch-O-Meter. I remember pushing lots of quarters to try to hit the pad harder than your buddies. One guy demolished us and this earned the moniker "Eee San Joe" (139 in Chinese Mandarin) - he was never defeated and I'm pretty sure we have some old pictures to prove it. Regardless, I would hate to see people flinging their $300+ iPhones (not including data plans) around trying to out punch your friends.

I've posted before about the many mobile devices out there that are taking advantage of the onboard accelerometers including the drum stick KDDI phone, Sony Game Phone, iPhone, and iPod Touch. I predict at least another dozen iPhone apps coming out next year alone and more if you include the other mobile devices.

And here is the rest of it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Treadmill Bikes

Two recent posts that show how we're continuing the trend to bring the indoors outside (or is it the other way around), Treadmobil by Speedfit and the Treadmill Bike by Bicycle Forest. Not sure if either device will make it big, but it's great to see people following and acting out their wildest dreams. How boring would the world be without dreams and higher goals. Check out lots of other crazy inventions at Bicycle Forest's website including the recumbent rowing bike, kickbikes, Family Truckster and Couch Bike. Great imaginative stuff!

[Via Ubergizmo 1 & 2,]

On Speedfit's website, I also found this image of what looks to their non-motorized treadmill called SpeedBoard. They are demonstrating either a woman walking for therapeutic or rehabilitative reasons with the included harness.

Ball-IT to Health

Ball-IT OY, a Finnish-based maker of real-time wireless sensing solutions, has released some specs and has demo'd its new six-degrees of freedom (SDF) controller. As costs to produce motion sensing devices come down, we'll see more and more of these devices on the market.
Here’s the promising part: It allows you to rotate the ball along any mixture of the three axes, so that it can communicate with your computer or mobile phone screen while stationary. Additionally, you can move the ball up or down, left or right, or close to or away from the screen (see the graphic below). So when it’s used as a game controller, each one of these movements let the ball interact with a game in a different way — depending on how the game software developer chooses to interpret these movements in the game.
Other devices that boast 6DF sensors include Motus' Darwin and Sixense TrueMotion featured earlier. The author doubts the current version to make any big progress against the tidal wave known as AGSNTBM - "A game system not to be mentioned."
Ball-it’s dexterity is worth noting. I’m pretty sure something like it will emerge and become a big hit. Right now, though, in its current form, it’s too unintuitive. It can do so much, and is nifty in that way, but it’s almost as though it doesn’t do any one thing extremely well — it fails to demonstrate a “killer application,” and after all, who really wants to carry around a ball to communicate with their phone or TV?
Time will tell whether or not we can "Ball It" to a health.
[Via Venture Beat]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TrueMotion 3D = Truer interaction

While "A game system not to be mentioned-AGSNTBM" has stolen the spotlight from most exergaming devices, the company Sixense has been working on their six degrees of freedom (X,Y,Z, pitch, roll and positional changes) controller called TrueMotion. TrueMotion is aptly named as its higher accuracy of motion sensors enables better interactivity and all of us in exergaming are anticipating this new technology to filter down to the consumers.

Watching the demo it performed in a lot of ways similarly to the Motus Darwin device (featured in May - Motus website) in that the device was able to capture six degrees of freedom. However, from my personal demo of Darwin I don't remember whether or not it detected my whole-body lateral movements as well as TrueMotion appears to. I must say that after seeing the close up images of TrueMotion I can't but help rave about Darwin's incredible design, comfortable grip, placement of buttons and of course the ability to lock two controllers together for easier gameplay of golf and every game player's dream...Star Wars Light Sabers. For now since both devices are in development, they are using wireless USB frequencies of unknown specification; however, as game developers and the Big 3 start to incorporate them they'll eventually be integrated into game consoles.

Now you may say to yourself what's the difference between the TrueMotion and the recent Nintendo add-on dongle MotionPlus (for the Wii-Mote featured earlier)? One is the magnetometer which provides six-degrees of freedom for the TrueMotion 3D vs adding on a dual-axis (X,Y) gyrometer (Invensense's IDG-600 MEMS) for MotionPlus. Take special notice at around 6:15 into the video to see what two TrueMotion input devices look like while playing the soccer goal-keeper mini-game. Jeff, CTO from Sixense, even suggests putting two other controllers on the feet to enable more whole-body movements and real kicks like other games (Shootball, Exertion Interfaces).

Check out after the jump for more Sixsense pics and videos.
[Via Engadget, bit-tech, Trusted Reviews, ]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

GoWear fit for a Healthier You

A few days ago, BodyMedia, the company known primarily for research devices that measure physical activity just released the first direct-to-consumer lifestyle and calorie management system. GoWear fit's squarish armband is coordinated by a wrist display and online management profile. I've been using the Armbands for about four years now, and I'm always happy with how easily the devices operate and how well the software is integrated with the hardware and the ability to view and sort the data according to my needs. Like another accelerometer-based device featured earlier (FitBit), GoWear appears to be the second all-in-one device and management system for a healthier life. Can't wait, can't wait to try one out. Prices with a wrist display look to range from $259-$299 (varying online subscriptions lengths).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bike Hero Lights Up The Streets

Now this is truly not fair and oh so very cool. Playing the song Prisoner of Society by The Living End on Guitar Hero World Tour, this video takes active gaming from a relatively closed dimension (standing/sitting still and playing) to an open and dynamic dimension (riding the bike). I think that creating games that are inspired by an electronic game is a perfect example of what we call in education "enlisting". We take what kids already enjoy and use it to help capture the students' imagination and interest. It should be noted...
Now before you start prepping your "Bike Band" (you know, Rock Band on a bike) video, it should be noted that according to Creativity Online, this video was created by ad agency, Droga5, and not just a couple of suburban teenagers with too much time on their hands.
[Via Crave]

Monday, November 17, 2008

Face (The) Music Exercise + WIBC 1 & 2

Watching this little experiment which I can only explain as cool on many levels, I can't help but be excited for our emerging field of exergames and egames. Undoubtedly, with the dropping costs of all sensor technologies (apperently the costs of the triaxial accelerometer in Wii Motes is around $1 - when bought in massive quantities) more projects like this facially detected music game/activity will surface. The concept for this facial game is actually pretty close to the Nintendo's tona No DS Kao Training - AKA Face Training DS. The main difference is the guy developed code to interface with the EMG sensors placed on his face and then mapped them to specific sounds. Think of it as creating or using unique sounds on your keyboard and then designating a key to play that sound. The only difference being the sensor must be activated (muscle movement) to work.

WIBC 1 (Wouldn't It Be Cool) - Exergame Idea 1: Wouldn't it be cool to see an interface that is EMG activated for the Music Catch game I posted earlier. An interface of this type would be a great application of technology for individuals with spinal cord injuries and or quadriplegics. Imagine being able to move characters or perform actions while using facial gesturing. Wow, now that Tom Clancy's EndWar game (Ubisoft) is released, imagine giving the verbal commands to send troops into battle then as the action begins using the "InterFace" (pardon the pun) to launch weapons and move. Check out after the jump for more videos of Face Training.

WIBC 2 -Exergame Idea 2: I can foresee a whole body interface that may even be related to muscle activation and fiber recruitment. In fact there are companies developing newer interfaces beyond the typical stepping and/ including IA Labs which is developing near isometric contraction sensors on new game peripherals (Wii Sqweeze) for different platforms and software.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2008 PE Mini-Conference (Wrap-Up)

The 2008 SUNY Cortland PE Mini-Conference went really well thanks to the many students, faculty, and staff that helped to organize and run the workshops. Thank you to my students Chris Mekelburg, Jake Weaver, and CarolAnn Samolduski, and Matt Minnis for preparing activities and handouts for all session participants. I would also like to thank Richard Coshott (Gamercize, UK), Dan Botwick (Wild Planet Entertainment, Inc.), and Aaron Hart (Sportime) for their generous support in providing the equipment used during this workshop.

Monday, October 20, 2008

RPG Pedometer Games

Bandai will be releasing two new PRG pedometer games for the holiday season and for about $45, you might be able to get more physical activity while playing an egame. The game is designed to be played over 90 days and it would be interesting to see what changes people considering that many people tire of playing a new game/exercise routine quickly. It would be really neat to have access to some of that data to look at the amount of steps and frequency of use over the 90 days, especially at days 30,60, and 90. I think it would be a great research project. Hmmm, anyone know someone at Bandai? If so, please e-mail me.

[Via Gizmodo, via Trends in Japan via bbGadgets]

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Your Life Rhythm" on DS

Earlier I posted the latest Nintendo pedometer that had yet to be announced with a game, well now we know the name of the game.... "Your Life Rhythm" built for the DS. According to the Kotaku post, it will need to be plugged into the DS like the My Weight Loss Coach pedometer. At least it certainly looks more streamline and not so bulky and obtrusive. And here is the rest of it.
[Via Kotaku, ]

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Utterli Utterlicious - Podcasting for Health

Ate a cup of whole-wheat spaghetti and chicken marsala. (On table next to Gamercize Cycle stand)

Mobile post sent by ExergameLab using Utterli. reply-count Replies.
Podcast your dining experiences! Upload photos of your meals and share delicious descriptions of the foods consumed.

If you enjoy your food, you'll be more mindful when you eat it. If you're mindful when you eat, you'll be conscious of what you're putting in your body. If you're conscious of what you're putting in your body, you'll be likely to choose healthier foods (most of the time, anyway.)
My exergaming colleague Biray Alsac (Befitt with Biray) showed me this website that allows you to upload audio, video, photos, and text to your Utterli account, which you can in turn share with your friends. Always the fitness "Maverick" of social networking, Befitt teaches her students how to use technology to assist their fitness and wellness plans. She created the Utterlicious month long podcast challenge to help us all be more mindful of what we eat. There have been many past research projects that made participants photograph everything they eat and many of them showed a change (at least in short-term) in eating patterns. But, isn't that what most of us in the health, recreation, wellness, fitness, physical activity, physical education, and therapy fields want for our be more mindful of our actions, bodies, thoughts, food as well as our impact on others and the environment.Wouldn't it be nice (channeling some Beach Boys here) to have all the food you eat tracked using something like Utterli or one of the other mobile device. Once the meal is loaded to a website like CalorieLab, (featured elsewhere) the nutrition values would be added to your daily intake. For example, you eat at PF Chang's and order the Chang's Chicken in Soothing Lettuce Wraps (thanks Julie), all of the info including the calories (energy intake) would be collected. And since your mobile device probably has a heart rate monitor, GPS, accelerometer, or pedometer assessing your physical activity levels (See miCoach, GameBullet, Sony F305, iPhone, Flaik, Sportio, Bones in Motion, Loopt, Motion Based, PerDiemco or others featured in an earlier post). - your energy expenditure would be tracked. The intake and expenditure would be automatically calculated and it would really show you what you're doing or not doing to your body. Hmmm...
[Cross-posted to Rockstar PE]

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

GZ Spin Trainer from Gamercize

The "GZ Spin Trainer" will be formally announced in October by Gamercize (UK-based), and exhibited to the public later that month, as a solution for high end sports training, suitable for athletes and sports people who demand an even higher level of exercise in active gaming. Check out the larger shot of the specially modified spinning bike and other details. (*Note: the group of spinning bikes is not the new GZ Spin Trainer and came from the NY Times.) A little bird shared this photo of the last prototype before the first production run comes from some small country named China. The photo was shot from the rider's position looking down at the armrest bars and the GZ Spin Trainer display. I believe it is the first full-sized Gamercize exercise machine and it is obviously more solid than their Gamercize Power Stepper or Gamercize Endurance Cycle. The maximum capacity of the Power Stepper is 220 pounds and I'm not sure if the Endurance Cycle has a maximum. For individuals of normal weight, the weight limit is not a huge problem but I've come across a couple of instances where heavier subjects (210lbs) and overweight youth were on the cusp of being too heavy for the Power Stepper as they could feel the flexing in the frame. I know nothing would break but they felt a little awkward using the stepper and I'm sure using a full-sized machine like the GZ Spin Trainer would make them feel more comfortable.
Originally written on 09-13-2008. Updated 10-03-2008

Wii Will Not Walk Alone

I posted earlier about Ubisoft's pedometer game for the DS, but this is a new pedometer patent for Nintendo and according to the links there's no telling into which platform this pedometer will be integrated. Seeing as the DS already has a pedometer, fit would make sense that this is being geared up to use with Wii games and maybe even the Wii Fit Board (if they don't already have too much dust on them). Click on to see my thoughts on the amount of motion sensing devices being let loose. It's really interesting to see how many more devices that are coming to market lately. Between the FitBit (FitClip), miCoach, jOG, and the many undisclosed projects, it's a pretty exciting time for those of us in the physical activity and motivation fields.
[Via Gizmodo, and OAMI via Kotaku]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Helix - Hot Hands on Wii

After reading some interesting posts on the GFH (Games for Health) listserv, call it a coincidence, but look what popped up on the radar, Helix a WiiWare game. For a very low price-point (10 Euros - still have to check if it's available in US) you have essentially DDR for the upperbody (a la EyeToy) using the existing Wiimote and nunchuck. The debate has been going for a long time about why we don't see more "exergaming" titles by major studios, and typically it boils down to the millions of dollars it takes to design, develop, produce and market a typical game title. With Helix and more like it to be released as WiiWare and for PS3 Live, maybe this could be a major focus for the smaller (and bigger) software companies to develop physically engaging games that use existing hardware.

And here is the rest of it.

[Via Sporle & Co.]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Handigo for People of All Abilities

In what is the first cross-blog post between this blog and my Rockstar PE blog, Ubisoft released a free online game called Handigo The Game. Actually there are three mini-games (Sensory handicap, Motor handicap, and Mental handicap) and their objective along with handicap International was to play games that puts you "in a disabled persons's shoes." Of course I must take issue with that phrase as we all know the importance of using first person language, i.e. "person with disability or "person with a handicap." And here is the rest of it.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by TinyLetter