Intelligent Machines

Human Joystick

Sensors turn video games into a workout.

Video gaming is traditionally a sedentary pursuit, but that’s changing thanks to interfaces that turn a player’s motions into onscreen actions.

Already, more than 1.5 million copies of Dance Dance Revolution, which challenges players to shimmy in sync with animated characters, have been sold; more than one million units of the EyeToy, a motion-tracking PlayStation camera that inserts players into games, have been sold through February.

This year, Nintendo will introduce a game console whose controller contains a motion-tracking chip; in order to, say, thrust a sword in the game world, a player simply waves the controller in the air. And a startup called GameRunner has invented the first custom treadmill that controls off-the-shelf, first-person computer games. As the player walks, sensors underneath the belt translate its motion into in-game running or walking.

This story is part of our May/June 2006 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

The timing of such gadgets is good: “Everyone’s concerned about childhood obesity,” notes Joy Garner, cofounder of GameRunner.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.
Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.

  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Join in and ask questions as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

You've read of free articles this month.