I have closely followed the interplay between video game sports graphics and broadcast sports graphics for many years. I also like to keep active, so in 2004 I started to combine my indoor exercise with televised sports. Since I am also a gamer, I felt the need to extend my real-time biometric data (speed, cadence, distance, calories, etc.) from my cycling computer to the primary screen, and include the competitive and social aspects of online gaming.
The result was Body.LinkSystems, a flexible application that connected off-the-shelf fitness devices (i.e., Garmin, Polar) with real-time on-screen fitness data. The goal is to leverage my experience with interactive television, mobile, and gaming platforms to deploy Body.LinkSystems applications across all connected tv platforms. Most importantly, content and brands will utilize this technology in meaningful ways in order to create entirely new social television and gaming experiences.
Digital and social fitness experiences are positioned to deliver on a number of extremely valuable levels:
- Combining physical activity and social rewards during gaming and other interactive entertainment experiences
- Connecting brands to viewers, while cutting through the noise and providing unique content relationships
- Providing physical extensions for contextual content and real-time participation with feedback
- Encouraging active participation and user-generated content in conjunction with devices like the Kinect
These videos showcase the ANT+ (2.4GHz) and Polar (5GHz) versions of the Body.LinkSystems interactive social fitness and gaming application. Other ANT+ sensor data is easily added. The Polar RMCM01 chip (Sparkfun HRMI) and Polar WearLink 31 coded chest strap (5GHz) were used for the Polar version.
The BPM and CALORIES burned on the left is the local user (indoor cycling), while the other three represent a social fitness experience (now linear transformations of the local BPM/CAL). Icons to the left represent the selection of other real-time exercise data like cadence, power, or speed (implemented in a more recent version below). Real-time bike cadence or run pace data taken from a footpod can also be used to control the speed of the video, which creates a more immersive experience.
The ANT+ application is powered by an off-the-shelf Garmin HRM1G Heart Rate Monitor and the ANT+ USB dongle. These items are found within the existing Garmin FR60 bundle.
Future development paths include the ANT+ standard across YahooTV, GoogleTV (Android), iOS, Windows Phone, and as an XNA community XBOX360 game.