Can I Play Games With CSAFE?
Q: "My new Precor elliptical machine has a CSAFE interface. Are there any games that can utilize this interface? What is it used for?"
A: CSAFE (Communication Specification for Fitness Equipment) enables many cardio machines to be part of a local area network. This is useful in a commercial gym setting but isn't used much at home. I don't know of any games that use it.
CSAFE includes stereo audio input signals, so a gym can use CSAFE to send music or TV audio to each exercise machine. (see also: Cardio Theater)
CSAFE also sends and receives status and configuration info so you can control the machine or track exercise in a more sophisticated way than made possible with the built-in controls. This seems to be what FitLinxx invented it for:
FitLinxx is a computerized system that attaches directly to existing fitness equipment, adding an extraordinary “intelligent” dimension to the workout experience for the first time.As for an interface that lets you use CSAFE as a game controller, Ian Holmes has thought about it but I'm not aware of anyone yet selling such a system. You can get all sorts of pedal controllers to drive games, but none use CSAFE. Perhaps Ian and I should start a company to make one. (I'm sure GameCycles.com would be happy to sell it!)
FitLinxx “learns” users' programs, “coaches” them individually through their workout for better form, safety and confidence during every exercise, and “tracks” their progress over time.
On strength equipment, FitLinxx appears as an easy-to-read touch-screen display that's attached to the machine. For cardiovascular equipment, each machine's existing console is simply networked to FitLinxx. Users simply tap in their PIN to display their targets - FitLinxx then coaches them on speed, form, heart rate, etc., and tracks the workout session - every rep, set and step.
Behind the scenes, all the exercise machines are networked into a central database, providing exercisers and staff access to a wealth of information on individual progress and a unique set of motivational tools. The system can be accessed on workout-floor kiosks, at the staff computer station, or anytime/anywhere on the web.