Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nickelodeon Fit Jumps Into Exergaming (E3)

Buried under the hundreds of other press release at E3, 2K Play and Nickelodeon have developed the first child-based exergame for Wii Fit. In coordination with PE expert Jackie Goodway (Chair of NASPE's Active Start committee), Nickelodeon Fit is based on the FITT principles of exercise (frequency, intensity, type, and time).  I always add another F principle, fun.  Will it be in this game or will this simply be another eFitness title like EA SPORTS Active, Gold's Gym Cardio Workout, or will we actually see some game elements in terms of story, plot, or narrative?  Hopefully Dora, Diego, Kai-Lan, Backyardigans can get our youngest generation jump roping, hula hooping, and moving more towards our daily goal of 60 minutes of physical activity. [Images via IGN]

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Friday, June 25, 2010

PARS - Physical Activity Rewards System

Can a wrist activity monitor ($110) with it's  ($55) PC base-reader and a $15.00 monthly fee to PARS - Physical Activity Rewards System be the solution to "encouraging" kids to move more and sit less?  NewWayFitness hopes it can be the solution to the crushing amount of sedentary time kids accumulate (TV, video games, computer) by combining components of behavioral economics, reward/token systems, and physical activity monitoring into a "self-monitoring" system of healthy choices and behaviors.  This is how it works: 

1. Set and enter a physical activity goal for the week (or longer)
2. Wear the wrist activity monitor (accelerometer)
3. At the end of the day, upload data by placing watch on USB-attached base
4. Enjoy the benefits and rewards of attaining your pre-determined goals

"P.A.R.S., developed in conjunction with the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, is an easy to use and innovative, web based software system that improves physical activity levels of sedentary children by using a unique incentive and reinforcement leveraging system and the latest technology Polar Activity Watch to measure activity."

If the child/youngster does not reach their  physical activity goals, you can also stop the flow of electricity going to their favorite electricity-based device  (game console, computer, tv, etc..) through the use of the awesome X10 in-home automation power controllers. This option will definitely cost you more.....in more than one way too.

$345 = Total Cost - Year One equipment and yearly subscription
$180 = Total Cost Yearly Subscription

Optional components
$55 = X10 power controller
$99 = X10 ActiveHome Professional Computer Interface and USB Cable
$50 =  ActiveHome Professional Software
$50 = Smart Macro Software Module for ActiveHome Pro

  • I have used these watch bases before and although they are "wireless", the actual base is attached via USB. It would be great if there were an option for a Wireless USB stations like the FitBit, but the FA20 activity watch does not have that option.  
  • Considering so many kids also game on portable systems like DS, PSP, iPod Touch and on mobile phones and smartphones - the X10 would have no impact on how much time they are "able" to game.
  • I love the fact that parents have a hand in helping their children become more accountable but I can't stop thinking about Jesse Schell's DICE 2010 lecture on being prisoners to external reward structures - although you could argue that we are already there with Google, GPS, airline rewards, credit card purchases, coupon clubs, etc..). Hmmmmm..  Let's see how PARS works up close and stay tuned for a thorough review.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ForceTek XIO: Force-Feedback Game Controller Exoskeleton

ForceTek XIO: the gaming controller that hurts you, not the TV (video): "

Forget the Wiimote, PlayStation Move and Kinect; here's a controller that actually makes you feel like you're in the game. At E3 earlier this week, startup firm ForceTek showed off its XIO (pronounced zee-o) Virtual Gaming System. The force-feedback arm exoskeleton 'provides a controlled resistance' to your arm and wrist movement. ForceTek eventually wants to build full exoskeletons (shoulder, back, lower body) to play games.

 Built to be a multiplatform game controller with tiny servo motors, one of their main claims is that it "helps reinforce the correct muscle pattern for the activity being simulated.". This is an important concept to remember in any motor skill, that being a correctly repeated movement helps to promote.  To be precise, there really is no such thing as "muscle-memory" as the muscle itself does not "remember" contractions/patterns; rather, the motor unit of the CNS "learns" sensorimotor skills. May the Force Be With You!

[Via Engadget DVICE | sourceSeriouslyE3 (YouTube), Awesome Game Blog]

Over 10 years in development and several patents, XIO™ (pronounced ZEE-O) is scheduled to be debuted at the 2010 E3 show June 15th-17th in Los Angeles, California. The XIO™ Virtual Gaming System could dramatically shake up the video console industry, a landscape dominated by Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony, with the introduction of a system that requires no console and puts the player closer to reality than ever before.
XIO™ uses advanced exoskeleton technology used in the sports training and physical rehabilitation fields to provide the player with different responses based on the player’s body position, speed of movement, and other sensed data. In addition to audio and visual responses, XIO™ provides a controlled resistance to movement and other stimuli to provide realism to the action. This not only lets players feel as if they are actually performing the function, but also helps reinforce the correct muscle pattern for the activity being simulated. 
XIO™ devices now available for one or both arms are expected to be subsequently combined with shoulder, back and lower body attachments to add to the virtual experience. The use of an optional onboard computer and XIO™ headgear will allow the system to become totally self-contained on the user for inside or outside multiple player use. 
Although XIO™ is being demonstrated at E3 using certain existing video game software, to take advantage of all of the capabilities of XIO™, the system is expected to be released to the public with video games specifically developed for XIO™. Consumers can now go online at www.forcetekusa.com/xio to become one of a select group given an opportunity to purchase the XIO Virtual Gaming System prior to full release.

Friday, June 18, 2010

GFH2010 - The Health Effects of Drumming & Drumming Games - Clem Burke Project

The Health Effects of Drumming & Drumming Games: Introducing the Clem Burke Drumming Project
Marcus Smith presented their research into the cardiovascular effects of  rock drumming and the implications on in-game drumming (Rock Band, Rock Revolution). It was awesome to see the similarities in the effects - but its important to remember that these were two of the most skilled drummers in each of their respective drumming fortes.

The energy cost of rock drumming: a case study
Physiological demands of rock drumming: a case study

Rock Drumming via Figgs from Extreme was playing to a track at a heart-rate of 190 beats per minute - which needless to say is in the vigorous physical activity intensity range - in fact for most un-trained adults we don't recommend those levels at all. In-game drumming expert by Harmonix lead designer John is arguably one of the most skilled drummers and he was pushing his heart rate to levels similar to that of Figgs - although from what I recall - not quite as high. I have to check the tape.  Stay tuned to this blog for more on Rock Drumming. Rock on my Friends!

Exergame Station Delivers Whole-Body Exergame Workout (Hands-on)

I've been wanting to showcase the Exergame Station for a while and I've actually had a great chance to test it out here at SUNY Cortland. Mike Pelletter was nice enough to drive down here and set up two stations during the 2nd Annual Exergame Expo back in December 2009. We had a blast letting the punching bag (mapped with control buttons) know what to do with your on-screen character.  
The great thing about it is that you can play any type of game on this whole-body exergame controller, so long as the action is not too fast. You get a serious workout because you have to use your entire body to play the game - and the fact that you are doing serious kicking and punching at near maximal exertion levels which raises your energy expenditure. Again, the more vigorous the activity, the higher the health benefits -  if its done repetitively for a sustained duration of time. Remember the FITT principle? These Exergame Stations were obviously prototypes and one more refined than the ones in the video below so there's no telling what the next version might look like.  Keep your eyes open for any updates on the Exergame Station here at the Exergame Lab. In the meantime, get kicking, get active and stay well!

An interestingly similar product was spotted recently called Interactiv' Boxing created by Domyos Fitness.
Integrating a LED light system, the interactive punching kit when banged or kicked illuminates to increase playfulness, while the 10 training programs lets the user change exercises and games with minimum fuss.

[Via Design Blog]

Battle Tag Brings Exergaming Outdoors and Console Free

Play laser tag outdoors (FPS, Survival mode) or anywhere you want or even biatholon using Ubisoft's newest exergame - Battle Tag. At E3 last night, they unveiled exergaming's newest entry into an ever changing user interface market. In how Ubisoft describes Battle Tag as the first Live Shooter Game (LSG), the infrared (IR) lasers have a 70 meter range while the pc base needs to stay within a range of 300 meters in order to keep track of the game using the UbiConnect antennae.  You can pick up health, ammunition, or objective packs to keep your game going and they are scanned using the RFID sensors placed in both the gun and packs. This is somewhat reminiscent of Hyper Dash, Hyper Jump, Animal Scramble from Wild Entertainment  and an FRID toy called Swinxs that is finally available in the US. It would be neat to test all three systems to compare what kids like about each system. If you know someone that can get us a test kit - please get in touch with me at exergamelab@gmail.com
Other features include:
  • UbiConnect Game Master program & antennae
  • Up to 8 players can play together (4 v 4)
  • User-generated data shared with Battle Tag community
  • Laser sensing vests
  • Voice prompting from Game Master transmitted via the laser gun's speakers
Exergaming Benefits
  • Physical activity (primarily cardiovascular) away from a console.
  • If most of the movements are near maximal and in short bursts, it could be one of the elusive exergames that elicit the vigorous intensity level that has shown to have excellent health benefits.
  • Choice of many types of games and challenges.
  • Social interaction with peers while playing and after receiving results.
  • Strategies (individual and group) and group dynamics.
  • Problem-solving during game-play.
Exergaming Concerns
  • If we really want the kids to get outdoors, they probably should focus on making this game/ type of exergame a mobile-based system (think Jogging at Distance)  or one that can leave the range of UbiConnect and continue to be able play. Similar to some wireless real-time heart-rate monitors that leave the base range and continue to collect data - then when you get back in range, the data is streamed to the base.
  • Tethered to the UbiConnect base (300m).
  • "Shooting" / using humans as targets.
  • Batteries and charging system.
  • Any haptic feedback in vest or gun?
  • GPS / mobile systems in development? 
  • Customizable games and features?
  • Language packs?
Release date Holiday Season 2010.  I know what I'm going to ask Santa for this Christmas:-) Tag On!

Los Angeles, USA – June 14, 2010 –Today live at the E3 exposition in Los Angeles, Ubisoft demonstrated a unique new brand of video game toys. The new UbiConnectTM brand brings video games and toys together to offer an immersive and innovative game experience. The brand launches in holiday 2010 with its first product, Battle TagTMa real shooter game that can be played between friends anywhere – at home or outside.
Battle Tagcombines the best of two worlds: a laser tag game and a shooter video game. Using unique real world accessories, players will be able to recharge and increase their life points. The PC will act as a Game Master, challenging players and keeping track of scores between teams. Players will also be able to download new content, create their own content and share with their friends and the Battle Tagcommunity.
“Today’s children grow up with video games and accept them as a part of their play time,” said Yves Guillemot, chief executive officer at Ubisoft. “UbiConnect brings together video games and physical toys, allowing players to play the game both at and away from a video screen.”
Battle Tagis a social, physical and fun experience that brings the interactivity of video games into real life using real world toys and accessories. Battle Tag will launch across North America during this fiscal year.
For more information on Battle Tag, please visit: www.battle-tag.com

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zumba Fitness Exergame for Xbox 360 Kinect Hopes To Spice Up Your Workout

Dropping sometime during Holiday 2010, Zumba Fitness hopes to bring the hottest dance and fitness craze to your shiny new Xbox 360 Kinect. The trailer doesn't reveal that much about the game or game play and we're pretty sure they weren't using Kinect for the in-game video footage. Let's see if they can capitalize on a huge Zumba fan base and turn in some better sales numbers than Your Shape


Thanks Sandra for the tip!

Posted via web from ExerGame Lab's posterous

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kung-Fu LIVE & Virtual Air Guitar : Exergames Heat Up E3 & Poll

Virtual Air Guitar and Kung Fu Live are giving Live demos at E3! I wish I could be there but at least we can all share and marvel at what Teemu and company have accomplished over the past few years. I remember watching in AWE over the Kick Ass Kung Fu footage a few years back and told everyone that this is the future of exergaming - whole body immersion/augmented reality.  

Way to go and prove me right Teemu & crew!  I 've added some screenshots of their latest trailer and some of trailer videos on YouTube so that you can see how awesome this release for Playstation 3 using Playstation Eye and on the Playstation Network will be this fall. I'm hoping to talk to a rep about their product and company in the near future so stay tuned. Enjoy the footage until then and shoot me some questions you would like me to ask them and take the following poll about which exergames you are excited to play.

Using Virtual Air Guitar Company’s patented Freemotion® technology combined with the PlayStation®Eye, Kung-Fu LIVE allows players to immerse themselves in fist-to-face combat with accurate motion and image scanning happening live and in real-time, right from their living rooms. Armed with a host of super-human moves in multiple interactive environments, disciplined players can brawl their way to victory in a pulse-pounding fight to the finish.

ProPack Mini for Smaller Hands and Bigger Smiles

pro_pack_mini_wii_controllerPower A is releasing the Pro Pack Mini Wii remote and nunchuk named MiniRemote and MiniChuck respectively. I've found that people with small hands have a hard time holding on to the regular Wii Mote and for the young ones hard to operate. At least these new devices will be easier to hold, but there's no going around which button to press/release when with a novice or young child.  Of course some may argue that young children shouldn't be playing video games - but that's an argument for another time.  Will this ProPack Mini set be easier to operate for people with disabilities including those with upper-body (especially manipulative) limitations? We'll have to get a set to actually see how the controllers change the users interaction.

[via Kotaku]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved on Xbox 360 Kinect (Exergame)

At E3 last night, Ubisoft revealed their Your Shape game ported over to Xbox 360 and Kinect (formerly Project Natal) now called Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. It;s a good thing too since the first version had real concerns with the game play, sales (0.59 worldwide million) and the use of Jenny McCarthy as a spokesperson. Watching the press conference and demos from LA got me excited for the next level of exergaming; however, I also have some real concerns with this implementation.

Exergaming Benefits
  • "Gets You in the Game" is a statement we've been using for a long time and it's good to see it throughout the press releases.
  • A surprisingly strong Facebook community of 36,000 + seems like it has a good start on the maximizing the group's ability to support one another.
  • Great visual effects and interaction and player tracking.
  • Lots of great feedback (formative, summative, instant).
  • Hundreds of exercises and supposedly never giving you the same workout.
Exergaming Concerns
  • As I have found in my research and that of others, perceived exertion is proving to be a tricky metric as people are under-reporting their levels of perceived exertion. This can lead to exhaustion and/or repeated overuse injuries.
  • Although Your Shape: Fitness Evolved has evolved from the Wii version, I still don't like the computer generated "image" when compared to the your actual video like on EyeToy Kinetic (my gold standard for fitness video game).
  • If it never gives you the same workout twice, what happens if you really connect with a particular workout and want to repeat it? Is there the option to put it back into rotation?
  • With all the feedback coming from the program, will the user be able to customize the amount, delivery rate and or type (audio, visual)?
  • Will players with movement disabilities be able to use the this system after calibrating for range of motion?
  • Will we be able to move the camera closer so those with limited ROM can still "Be in the game"?
  • Will the online support community run into similar litigation issues as EA SPORTS Active (featured earlier)
  • Did the designers consult with exercise physiologists, strength training professionals, and personal trainers? 
  • Did they build in features that emphasize: the different elements of training cycles (micro, macro, meso), energy systems (aerobic, anaerobic, lactic, alactic), tapering an cycling, nutritional demands coordinating with each specific cycle and system? 
  • As is the case with many of the fitness "games", there does not appear to be any real game element in terms of story, plot, or narrative. In essence these titles should be "efitness instruction" or "efitness guides".
  • The demo got me a little confused as it was the mirror image of what we were watching on stage.
With all they've added to the "game" it's great to see studios embrace exergaming and its potential; however, we still have a ways to go to get them accepted and understood at a higher level.

Be sure to get an unbiased perspective and plenty of information of exergames on The Exergame Network.


    Ubisoft’s proprietary Player Projection technology puts you in the game.


    As you master fitness moves, the game responds with fun and surprising visuals that match your movement and impact.


    You choose how you want to play – do you want a personal trainer to help you meet your specific fitness goals? Or do you want to take a class such...


    Your Shape Fitness Evolved will give you precise feedback on your every body part as you follow your coach’s instructions.


    Your Shape Fitness Evolved features workouts from well-known fitness experts.


    The game keeps track of your stats, such as calories and scores.


    The game comes with hundreds of exercises plus there will be regular downloadable content releases to ensure you’ll always have new and exciting workout...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dance Central (Exergame) for Kinect on Xbox 360

Dance Central announced for Kinect on Xbox 360

By Amanda Ochsner, June 14, 2010

Gamers who love music and dance have an exciting holiday season release to look forward to. Playable without having to hold any kind of controller through the use of Microsoft Kinect, Dance Central tracks the full body movements of players as they follow on-screen instructions.
If 600 dance moves across 90 dance routines is not enough - remember that these songs can also be played in groups so I imagine synchronization will be big part of the scoring mechanism. Even though all these new devices will calibrate at the start of a session - I still worry about 1:1 motion recognition as it relates to people with movement issues and disabilities.  Will we be able to bring the camera lowere and closer like we've done for so many of our students like we do for EyeToy and XaviX?  Time and trials will tell.  Otherwise, if you know where we can get an advanced kit prior to the November release - please get in touch with me exergamelab@gmail.com to hook me up!

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