Thursday, November 30, 2006

Live-Action Tekken

If fighting arcade games were real, this is what it might look like.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

When Videogames Hurt

The Nintendo Wii was released last weekend. Here's a good Wall Street Journal article on wii-related injuries
The new console has been wildly successful, selling out at stores and winning high marks from critics and game buffs. But as players spend more time with the Wii, some are noticing that hours waving the game's controller around can add up to fairly intense exertion -- resulting in aches and pains common in more familiar forms of exercise. They're reporting aching backs, sore shoulders -- even something some have dubbed "Wii elbow."

"It's harder than playing basketball," says Kaitlin Franke, a 12-year-old from Louisville, Ky. She has been camped out in front of her family's TV, fine-tuning her bowling motion and practicing boxing footwork in two of the Wii's games. Almost immediately, she says, her right arm started to feel numb.

In Rochester, Minn., Jeremy Scherer and his wife spent three hours playing tennis and bowling, two of the games included with the Wii. Mr. Scherer says he managed to improve his scores -- at the cost of shoulders and back that were still aching the next day. "I was using muscles I hadn't used in a while," says Mr. Scherer, a computer programmer who describes himself as "not very active." Mr. Scherer is vowing nightly "Wii workouts" to get in better shape.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

GameCycle - Videogaming as Upper-Body Rehabilitation

From the name, I had been assuming the GameCycle was yet another pedal-powered game controller. Nope! It's actually quite nifty. GameCycle is a hand-driven pedal controller that lets the user determine forward motion and steer using just the upper body. Wheelchair-bound gamers use it in therapy to play driving games.

"In the clinic, the GameCycle is used by people who have experienced stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, and other neurological disorders or diseases of the spine."

"Fitzgerald and her colleagues (2004) compared exercising with an arm ergometer (without a videogame) to exercising with the GameCycle (arm ergometer with videogame). Fitzgerald found that although metabolic data indicated that more calories were being expended while using the GameCycle (compared with the standard arm ergometer), research participants did not perceive greater exertion. In other words, participants were exercising harder with the GameCycle, but did not feel it or realize it."

Videogame-based therapy at its best. More here and here.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rollerman: Move Like a Videogame Character

In much the same goofy vein as Powerisers, here's a suit that allows rolling movement in almost any position, even down stairs, at speeds of up to 60 mph. Start with a pair of rollerblades with pads and then just keep adding more wheels and armor until you're nothing but one big machine for movement.

Frenchman Jean-Yves Blondeau first conceived of his plastic Buggy Rollin' suit in 1994, while he was a student at Olivier de Serres design school, in Paris. But the invention, which allows a wearer to top 60 miles per hour while maintaining any position found in the Kama Sutra, didn't exactly catch fire with consumers. Not one to give up, Blondeau recently refined the suit to a stripped-down 31-wheel version and developed his own playbook of moves, like the Zaphial (rolling flat on your back with all four limbs pointed straight up) and the Smooth Buggy Dog (three limbs on the ground and one rolling along a wall).
This french-only clip gives a better sense of how the suit is put together:

This guy would fit right in as a James Bond villain...

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