Friday, January 15, 2010

Get Your Bike On! ExerGaming Bike Bonanza Round-Up

This is the Penultimate guide to ExerGame Biking.  Whether you want to hack your wheels to work with your PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox, Mac or you prefer to buy a commercially available one, there are certainly lots of choices. Scroll through to see the only place to find them all corralled in one place…the ExerGame Lab blog - Giddy up!

If I’ve missed anything, please let me know at exergamelab AT gmail DOT com.
Have a great weekend and if you haven’t already done so, please consider giving to the rescue efforts in Haiti by donating to your favorite charity including the Red Cross.


Hack #1: Project Excite Bike is a home brew project putting an old bike together with an Xbox 360 to play more than just racing games. They are apparently going to release the schematics and software so that you can do it yourself (DIY) so check back in a bit.

Categories: Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMG

Hack #2: Engineer Cameron Etezadi posted his hack to create his own bike trainer computer instead of purchasing $1000+ unit. Of utmost importance to his design was a quality fluid resistance trainer unit, and he went with a Kinetic by Kurt model. I don’t think he hacked it originally to use as a game controller – but I think it is capable of being used. (Speed Mediated Gaming –SMG)

Categories: Bike Trainer, Bike Simulator, Speed Mediated Gaming – SMG

Hack #3: VR enthusiast Shingo showcases his SpaceBike setup that allows him to explore Google Street View, Google Earth, Second Life,  while on his rig hooked up to a virtual reality headset. Definitely a neat way to explore our real world without having to leave your house

Categories: Bike Trainer, Bike Simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG

Hack #4: Using an Ubuntu-based laptop that is wired up to an Arduino, this group of hackers wanted to show how you keep it green by pedaling for your bits and bytes (internet flow).

Categories: Speed Mediated ExerGaming/Surfing – SMEG (internet surfing)

Hack #5: CycleScore is a MIT student project that tied a Precor bike to some software built on motivational principles intending to keep you focused on specific task while pedaling your way through the game.  I’m not sure if they have commercialized this yet or if they are working with any other companies.

Categories: Bike Simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Price: ?

Hack #6: Heart Burn is a research paper and project that demonstrates heart-rate scaling on a exergame bike project by a Queen’s University and UVIC research group. To read more on the Heart Burn project, click here.  When two players are playing cycling games where the speed of the cycling is tied to the speed of the game vehicle or person (truck, car, bike, etc..), the player who is more fit will always have an advantage over the less-fit player.Using logarithmic scaling of heart-rate response while playing, they were able to show two players of different fitness levels in a close competition using recumbent bikes hooked via the internet.

Categories: Bike simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Price: ?

Hack # 7: Grand Theft Bicycle. is a game-installation by Steve Gibson, Justin Love and Jimmy Olson. Taken from an earlier post on my blog: “Now, for those not interested in a robot as a fitness leader, Grand Theft Bicycle is a PC hack based on GTA codes but re-worked so that the two competing gangs represent world leaders (Obama,Blair, Harper & Allis vs bin Laden, Hussein, and Jong-Il). Pedaling on the Borgcycle pedals your character's bike through "Bagdad" city and you use the controls mounted on the handlebars to jump and shoot your way to political and terrorist nirvana.” To read more on the Grand Theft BikExergaming, click here.

Categories: Bike simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Price: ?

Hack #8: The Future of Exercise – a University of Victoria Computer Science project supported by Microsoft Research & LeMond Fitness. Created by three students (David Whittaker, Wes Alcock and Ryan Williams) along with Bruce Gooch their supervisor, this team took a $2500+ LeMond G-Force recumbent bike and converted it to a PC game controller for racing games and MS Flight Simulator X with heart-rate parameters embedded on-screen.

Categories: Bike simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Price: $3000


Now, if you have some money to spend or you are a school looking to upgrade your fitness equipment, there are plenty of choices to look at and get sweaty. It all depends on what floats your boat.  Some of these bikes will be Movement Mediated Gaming (Gamercize), others will be Speed Mediated Gaming (eXerbike, GameBike) while others will be Non-Mediated Gaming (FXB). If I’ve missed anything, please let me know at exergamelab AT gmail DOT com.

Product #1: NeuroActive BrainBike designed by Motion Fitness, uses a high-end recumbent bike loaded with a pc, Gamercize's "patented response technology", and brain training software by NeuroActive. Essentially you will need to pedal to play any of the brain-training games (via arm supported mouse table) that works on 16 different brain functions (processing speed, selective attention, math skills, and visuo-spatial skills to name a few). If you stop pedaling, the games are paused until you start pedaling again.  This is one of the only Movement Mediated Gaming devices on the market as your game avatar/character/vehicle is not tied to the speed at which you pedal.

Categories: Bike Simulator, Movement Mediated ExerGaming – MMEG
Price: $3900

Product #2: Cyberbike is a new European software (Cyberbike Cycling Sports) and bike from Big Ben Interactive exclusively for the Wii.  Riding in this new planet Cyclo, you travel on the ground, in the air, and under water to collect the elements that are polluting planet Cyclo. PEGI: 3+ rating for up to 4 players and the bike peripheral is compatible with other racing games and capable of back pedaling and braking.

Categories: Bike Simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: £99.99

Product #3: Dogfight Interactive Flight Simulator is a full featured flight simulator interfaced with a high end exercise bike. The players propels the plane by pedaling and controls it by pushing and pulling on the spring loaded side handles.

Categories:  Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: $6995

Product #4:  eXerbike is an exergame bike that hooks up to a PS2 designed by Motion Fitness and Hoggan Health. Steer with the handle bars and peddle as fast as you can to beat your opponents and if that’s not enough you can turn up the resistance to make it even harder.

Categories: Bike Trainer, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: Pro $3000; Junior $?

Product #5: Expresso – is a networkable Virtual Trainer that takes you on races or pelotons, throughout the world’s best courses and mountain climbs.  I think the fact that most Expresso bikes are connected to Expresso servers is a huge advantage over other products.  It runs on a PC platform and you can also watch TV or surf the internet on most of these units. There is a kids model as well as adult models.

Categories: Virtual Trainer, Bike Simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: $3000-$5000

Product # 6: FXB  the Fun Exercise Bike has no controls over game play in that it is neither speed-mediated nor movement mediated – all it serves is a place to cycle while playing racing games like Mario Kart.

Category: Non-Mediated ExerGaming - NMEG
Price: $140

Product #7: GameBike (formerly Cateye now through Source) works with any game console. Steer with the handle bars and peddle as fast as you can to beat your opponents.

Categories: Bike Simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: Home version $350, Pro Upright $1500,  Pro Recumbent $2000

Product #8: GameCycle is a hand ergometer adapted to use as a game-controller. What I think is great is that the cranking can be easily set to be reciprocal (asynchronous cranking) or non-reciprocal (synchronous) depending on the ability of the player and the therapeutic requirements. There’s also a great list of research benefits from using the GameCycle available here.

Categories: Bike Simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: Home version $350, Pro Version $1200

Product #9: Gamercize has a range of products for the home or gym but they all have patented technology that makes this company unique.  GZ units are compatible with all game consoles and PC’s and the technology works so that when you stop pedaling, your game goes into pause mode.  In order to play whatever game you want, you just have to start pedaling again. Richard’s unofficial philosophy is to let kids play as much as they want as long as they want, so long as they use the GZ device. Instead of a speed mediated gaming device where only racing games and simulators are most effective, you can effectively play any of the 1000’s of game titles available with much less sitting around. Last year they released a 3-in-1 Family Fun unit that is a recumbent bike, a rowing machine, and a Gamercize unit all built into one package.   Granted you cannot game while rowing, but at least there's an option for more than one activity unlike the rest of the devices. WIBC -  It would be really cool to try to put a unit together somehow with switches on the rowing handle and maybe some switches on the heel cradle footboard.

Categories:  Movement Mediated ExerGaming – MMEG
Prices: GZ Sport (pc, ps2, xbox,gc) $189, GZ Pro Sport (xbox360, ps3, wii, pc)  $289, GZ Kids Cycle (ps2) $299,  3-in-1 Family Fit $1500

Product #10: PC GamerBike (The MagneTrainer) looks to be the latest generation of the Neo-Racer which is no longer available. You can play your favorite racing games, FPS, MMOG, SL, or even their own software Island Works.

Categories:  Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: $209 cycle only, IslandWorks software $39

Product #11: Nextfit MOG – was a dynamo of a bike trainer which features variable resistance, and haptic feedback in three points (handlebar, seat, and pedals) to get a feel for the road.
Can be used on PC, PS2, Xbox, and most likely on the newer generation platforms as it connects via USB. You can even do LAN parties with up to 8 bikes connected. Navigation and game controls are built in to the handle bars. This is the Cadillac of GameBikes; however it is no longer available.

Categories: Bike Trainer, Bike Simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: MSRP $2500. Used from New Zealand currently in online auction and available for $795.

Product #12: Qmotions FunFitness Full Motion Game Controller is an interface between your game console (PS2 or Xbox) and your home exercise bike.
Categories:  Virtual Trainer, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: $20-$90
_Qmotions FunFitness02.jpg_ Qmotions FunFitness01

Product #13: SimCycle is an at home cycle machine that hooks to your PC (via COM – does anyone have that anymore?) 

Categories:  Virtual Trainer, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: $95 cycle, $40 for SimCycle Gamebox to use with PC games.

Product #14: Tacx Virtual Reality Trainer – a bike trainer is required for this package but besides multiplayer online races you can also work on your time trials from the comfort of your own home.

Categories: Bike Trainer, Bike Simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: Software ~ $120. Full rig - (Tacx Fortius Multiplayer Virtual Reality Cycle Trainer – T1930) $1600

Product #15: Trixter – Xdream bikes is the latest in the line of spinning cycles built to interact with PC racing software. It is also the “only interactive bike on the market which includes fully independent and analogue control brakes.” What I love about these bikes is the ability to stand up (like a spinning bike) and the independent steering / twisting actions afforded by the X-Bars arc motion and spring mechanism design.

Categories: Virtual Trainer, Bike Trainer, Bike Simulator, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: $2000+

Product #16: VCycling is a virtual reality system that licenses the hardware and software from Tacx and targets the schools and clubs as opposed to the competitive cyclist.  I remember getting a demo from Buzz on their earlier system at least 4 years ago and I was impressed with the Tacx gearing and software.

Categories: Bike Simulator, Bike Trainer, Speed Mediated ExerGaming – SMEG
Prices: ?


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