Friday, May 23, 2008

Poll: JumpSnap improve one's rope jumping abiltiy?

JumpSnap: Learn to jump rope without the rope

The most frustrating part for children/teenager/adults is getting the jump rope caught up in your feet and having to start over again...which for some is frustrating and sometimes even embarassing. I do see tremendous value in learning how to coordinate the eyes and hands, wrist turn, jump, and preparation for the next jump....however, the JumpSnap could really help to keep the heartrate elevated and should allow jumpers to workout continuously as opposed to the multiple start and stops. I'd imagine as your jumping and wrist turns become more coordinated with JumpSnap - switching back to a traditional jump rope should be relatively easy. Why not take the poll?
[Via PC Mag and JumpSnap Blog]

Wayfinder Active™ -

Wayfinder Active is a free GPS service available for cell phones/mobile devices and provides a way to track information about routes including speed of travel, calories burned, altitude. etc.. As I mentioned in an earlier post, providing information about physical performances and a social means to connect with others might encourage and motivate people to continue with that physical activity.
[Via Wayfinder & Active Outdoor]

Geotagger - "Physical" social bookmarking on the go

Takumi Yoshida's GPS geotagging device will bring social networking and ubiquitous computing together so that people can find the "cool" places before they've become well known.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

TUIST (Transformable Uber Interface for Stardom)

While not looking (so far) as phsically demanding as Rockband, this NYU ITP Spring Show 2008 student project by Rui Pereira figured a way to play the guitar, base and drums all on one device. He even added some visualization data that corresponds with the game play.

Ukikit Immersive Foosball

NYU's ITP 2008 (Interactive Telecommunications Program) Spring show had some innovative "exergame" type projects including Thomas Chan and Mitch Said's Ukikit foosball game. With sensors attached to your feet move side to side to make your team move laterally on screen and then make a kicking motion to ckick the ball. To accomplsh their project the used "color camera recognition, sonar distance recognition and java software". I love how many physically interactive games are being made and I really think we are just scratching the surface.
Via Working Theory

2083 Tennis (Lacoste's vision) or Exertion Interfaces for Sports over a Distance)

Floyd Müller's exergames (Sports over a Distance) ca. 2003

Lacoste's 2083 vision of a tennis exergame

This "futurustic" vision of tennis in the year 2083 was already developed and avaialble in 2003 in the form of Exertion Interfaces for Sports over a Distance by Florian "Floyd" Müller.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Poll: Will Wii Fit become the most popular game ever?

Please take a second to answer the following question on whether Wii Fit will become the most popular game ever sold. I've got to find out what game currently holds that title.

KSRO 1350 AM Newtalk - Wii Fit launch

II spoke live via phone with KSRO 1350 AM morning show host Curtis Kim from Amelia Beach Florida about today's North American launch of Wii Fit. According to Nintendo, the marketing campaign for Wii Fit will be their biggest in history. With already 3.38 million units sold (2.04m Japan, 1.34m UK) the US market has been clamoring for this new game to add to the most popular new game console (26 million units). Time will tell if this game can live up to its expectations, but as I told Curtis, there are four possible benefits to playing exergames like Wii Fit. 1) Games may help you to become aware of your body and especially your body's position in relation to other body parts (proprioception); 2) eGAMEs - Electronic Games for Movement Enjoyment. Games should foster enjoyment and fun through physical movements; 3) Games done with others are inherently more enjoyable; and 4) Receiving feedback about performances (balance) and other assessments (BMI) might encourage players to continue playing. Keeping these four benefits in mind, if they can be attained without the use of exergames – then go for it. Maybe our inability to craft meaningful and enjoyable physical experiences has been our undoing. Perhaps Wii Fit will push us to refocus education, recreation, and play and be the “Gateway Game” that ushers in a healthier and active lifestyle beyond those electronically mediated.

Press play to listen to my six-minute segment on KRSO 1350 AM Radio recorded May 21, 2008.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Move over Wii! Apple wants to play in 3D

The potential for Apple to develop games that use a three axis (dimension) motion sensing device to interface with games has given many Apple fans reasons to cheer. However, the triaxial accelerometer, Bluetooth, and LED sensor bar that work in synchrony in the Wii-mote has issues. For example if you're not within range of the LEDs (wireless or not), or something is blocking the direct line of transmission - calculating absolute position is not always possible. So it will be interesting to see what technology they use to avoid such problems. According to the Wired blog, the Apple TV would be the main console. I was also reading a short editorial from PC Magazine Chief Editor Lance Ulanoff , where he touted the iPhone as the most important technological development of the 21st century because of its sleek design, user interface, and potential to be the next home desktop. He went on to imagine: “What if you could pass notes between iPhones by shaking them in the direction of a recipient, or play "catch" by gently tossing a virtual ball from one iPhone screen to another?” The game play would be one intriguing issue, but I chuckle to myself thinking about all the damaged iPhones as a result of all the “catching” and “passing”. As I think about Motus’ Darwin USB controller with 6 degrees of freedom and no need for a sensor-type bar, I wonder if they’re working together to integrate their technology…..hmmm?
Photo courtesy AppleInsider

KSRO Radio phone in segment - Wed. May 21, 2008 - Wii launch

I will be phoning into the morning show at KSRO Radio in Sonoma,CA. Renee Bakos, the morning show produce phoned me today to see if I was available Tuesday, but I will call Wednesday morning (US Wii Launch) at 9:48AM (EST). They are a CNN affiliate and they want to discuss exergames in general but more specifically about the Wii-hoopla. Click the "Listen Live" link and it should prompt you to download an applet but they have a live stream via WMP.

Listen to my six-minute segment on KSRO 135o AM about the Wii Fit launch and exergames.

Friday, May 16, 2008

US News & World Report article on Exergaming

Earlier in the week Senior Editor (Health/Medicine) Katherine Hobson from US News & World Report interviewed me by phone. Here is the online article titled "The Power of Wii: Getting in Shape with Video Games?"

May 16, 2008 03:01 PM ET Katherine Hobson Permanent Link

What if you could turn video games, criticized for everything from their obsessive hold on users to their purported role in childhood obesity to their misogynist elements, into something, well, healthy? That's the idea behind "exergaming": physically interactive video games, controllers, and systems that aim to get your heart rate up without making you feel like you're doing penance. This whole emerging discipline is about to get a big bump with the release next week of Nintendo's Wii Fit, which is already flying off the shelves in Asia and Europe and is likely to be in short supply here, too.

Gaming sites and reviewers are weighing in; here's what the New York Times testers had to say, here's how the Wall Street Journal liked the system, and here's how CNET reviewed the game. (Another blogger has a review based on a month of use in Japan.)

Wii Fit consists of a $90 balance board that's combined with the original Wii console to let users progress through a series of activities that include simple yoga positions, hula-hooping, and ski-jumping. The original Wii wasn't specifically intended to give users a good workout, but some people have reported sore muscles and joints, and at least one doctor has self-diagnosed a condition he dubbed Wiitis. Regular old Wii involves movement to play virtual sports like bowling and tennis, but technique often triumphs over physical effort.

Wii Fit is not the first exergame; EyeToy, a camera add-on to the PlayStation 2, has a series of fitness-oriented games. And before that, there was Dance Dance Revolution, the game that got kids hopping enthusiastically in the arcade and then in front of their home TV sets—and even, in some places, in P.E. class. But DDR was created as an entertaining game. Then people noticed it also worked up a sweat. Now, interest in exergaming is growing, given the potential to get both kids and adults off their ever-expanding butts. It was one of four major trends discussed at the national Games for Health conference, held in Baltimore earlier this month, and researchers are trying to figure out how best to assess and design these games.

Academics have already studied some of the older games. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic concluded in 2006 that kids who traded passive video games for EyeToy games and Dance Dance Revolution became three times as active. Another study, published last year in Pediatric Exercise Science, found that in kids, the exertion from playing the more active games is comparable to skipping, jogging, brisk walking, and climbing stairs. (It's unclear whether users will burn off less energy as they get better, and more efficient, at the games.) Earlier this year, researchers reported in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity that a group of 10 kids randomly assigned to get an active video game setup added to their PlayStation 2 spent less time on all kinds of video games and more time being physically active than a control group that had only the conventional console.
The games that are more likely to burn calories involve the larger muscle groups in the legs, not just arm movements, says Alasdair Thin, a physiology researcher at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh who looks at exergames. That's likely why Dance Dance Revolution has come out ahead in studies comparing it with the EyeToy, which doesn't involve vigorous leg movements in many of its games (one exception: EyeToy Kinetic, a personal-training program).

In the future, we need to "tease out what aspects of the games are beneficial," says Stephen Yang, co-director of the Physical Activity Research Laboratory at the State University of New York -Cortland. (He also has an exergaming blog.) The more chances players have to make changes and decisions—to customize the game, to some extent—the more likely people are to stick with it, says Yang. Increased feedback from a game system, in the form of tips or heart rate information, helps keep users hooked, he adds. So does a system that allows players to compete or collaborate with others.

Researchers say the games aren't likely to be suited to everyone, or to replace other sports or activities. But they may be a gateway for people who aren't already moving on a regular basis, especially exercise novices who are more comfortable being active at home than in a more public place like a gym. Users of Dance Dance Revolution say their primary reason for playing is for fun, says Debra Lieberman, director of Health Games Research, a program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that examines how active games can improve health. People find it easier to stick to an exercise program when doesn't feel like work.

When you look at the stats on obesity and nutrition, especially among kids and teens, "obviously, we've failed," says Yang. "We've got to right the ship, to bring back play, free time, and games."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Healthy Video Gaming

Yang, S.P., Smith B.K., Graham, G.M. (2008). Healthy video gaming: an oxymoron or possibility? Innovate,4 (4).

From synopsis: "Suggesting that games like DDR and game systems like Nintendo's Wii may appeal to young people who resist more accepted forms of exercise, Yang, Smith, and Graham explore the potential power of these games to encourage children and youth to be physically active."

Friday, May 9, 2008

GFH 2008 (live) Foot Gaming

Judy Shasek demo'd FootGaming and their newly developed school tool which is a dance pad adapted for casual games (PopCap - Bejewel).

GFH 2008 (live) Kinetic City

AAAS developed Kinetic City which is aligned to National standards of nutrition, health and exercise. They eventually adapted a dance pad to use an input device. (Update 05-16-2008) As I recentky told Bob, my role as a physical educator should be to help students learn through the physical and not just the physical skills in isolation.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

GFH 2008 (live) PDwii: Using Novel interfaces

Red Hill Studios collaborated with UCSF School of nursing to develop a set of gestures in patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD) NIH SBIR (NINDS). Three gestures - hip rotation, sit down stand up, reaching. Virtual book spins a Charlie Chaplin book (hip rotate), Clothes mini-game (reahing), Rail car (sit down stand up). The rail car one looks neat in that the rail car will only move forward after standing up then sitting back down - so if you repeat that pattern rhythmically - the rail car will travel faster and smoother.

GFH 2008 (live) Go for the burn

Alastair Thin from Heriot Watt University (Scotland)
Martial artists (MA) scored higher on the game than non-martial artists (NMA
Arm waving (EyeToy Groove) = MA scored similarily to NMA ~ 3.0 METS
Rhymthmic Arm Waving =
Rapid Arm Movement (Boxing Box) = 6.0 MET
Whole body (Kinetic) = 6.0 METS (~55% of VO2 Max) No REL score, posture, hand-eye
Rapid fire (Sidewinder) = 11 METS (~90%) No REL to game score, posture, hand-eye
Wii Fit Hulahoop (130 bmp)
Step Mania Dance Mat 120 bpm
Wii Fit Step
EyeToy Groove
F1 Racing

GFH 2008 (live) Research methodologies

Deb Lieberman from UCSB is leading a discussion on the different methodologies in research. She is the program manager for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Games Research Grant.

GFH 2008 (live) History fo Exergaming

Noah Falstein was a witness in the Avary vs. Microsoft ResponsDesign trial over the Yourself Fitness software and was one of the first ten game developers at LucasArts. Amiga Joyboard, Exus Foot Craz pad, Nintendo Power pad for NES (1987), Bandai Athletic World (NES), Family Fun FItness, Dance Aerobics (1988) NES, Eggsplode, Roll & Rocker. 1990's - Exercise/yoga on PC CD. Nintendo Life Fitness "Exertainment" 1995, Sports Sciences SNES baseball bat, 1999 - Yoga & Meditation, 1996 PropCycle, 1998 - DDR, Yourself! Fitness. Current - Yoga for DS, and Wii Fit. Future - ARG, GPS,

GFH 2008 (live) Opening by Ben Sawyer

Ubisoft released My Personal Coach in Japan and sold over 4 million copies of a pedometer based game for Nintendo DS. "Make stuff happens and tell stories" was one of Ben's statements. Upcoming this year, GFH Southwest, E3 Media Festival 2008, GFH Jam (bring game developers over 48 hours and get them to create a game based on health). GFH support kit, GFH Virtual Worlds, GFH Accessibility Day are other areas. Ben Heck's demo'd his one handed Guitar Hero....very cool.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

GFH 2008 iClub

The makers of the Darwin also have a great series of golf technologies designed to improve one or many components of a golf swing. When you add the Body Motion System vest and their software to the iClub, you have a very sophisticated swing analysis/coach ... there may be hope for my slice after all.

GFH 2008 Motus Games DarwinTM

Imagine playing Tiger Woods Golf with two Wii like devices (more rounded controller) that actually link together for a more realistic golf swing. The USB controller DarwinTM that Satyender Mahajan demo'ed was white (also available in black) can be found at their website. Six degrees of freedom transmitted over an unspecified frequency allows the user to play without having to point the device at a LED/IR source like the Wii or XaviX. I actually pointed the Darwin away from the screen and was still able to hit the ball. Hopefully it will be in stores in less that a year.

GFH 2008 (live) Second Life health care

John Miller, RN Tacoma Community College is presenting on how they're using SL for teaching, team building and critical thinking in nurse education. We are watching how students react and learn about physiological principles.

GFH 2008 (live) Play 2 Train

Ramesh Ramioll from Play 2 Train is demo'ing their Second Life virtual world created for a hospital in Boise, Idaho. Like Forterra, they use it for accident and emergency response training.

GFH 2008 (live) Fortera Systems

Bart Bartlett is presenting and demo'ing at a booth this week. Forterra Systems developed OLIVE which is not a Second Life make belief virtual enviro, but a to-scale virtual world (VW) that can help companies/hospitals prepare for major events (gas attack). Stanford Medical Hospital uses it Virtual Hospital for orientations, evacuations, and scenarios of all sorts. How about walking through a hospital before it's even built?

GFH 2008 (live) Hacking for accessibility

Ben Heckerdon introduced his new game controller that allows users to move the input pieces to any of the five spots for each finger. It was built to be used for either hand. It was very light and easy to move the components around and he thinks it will retail under $100.

GFH 2008 (live) Whyville

I'm in the Virtual Worlds & Health session watching James Bower present on Whyville and how many partnerships they have with organizations (CDC) and schools. Even a project working with children with hearing loss from iPod use. Amazingly, there are over 12 million US children and teenagers in Virtual Worlds (VW) like Second Life and Whyville.

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