Best Of: Interactive Systems X-Mas Lecture

Every year Mr. Ziegler and I do a X-Mas lecture about exotic and crazy ludic interfaces. Over the years we collected a lot of interesting examples – some of them had a huge commercial success, others disappeared before anyone could recognize them. Here are some of my personal highlights of this and last years lectures:

A bloody mess: The GlucoBoy (GBA / NDS)

The GlucoBoy is a catridge for the GBA which comes with a blood glucose meter. Inserting blood samples gives the player an amount of “glucose reward points” which can be used to unlock games or which work as a currency in games to buy virtual stuff. This is serious gaming, man!

Another Wii Remote Addon… The Cooking Pro Set!

After introducing small tennis rackets, boxing gloves, wooden or plastic swords and shields, rods, guns and maracas it seems like the hardware producers don`t run out of ideas of where to put in the wii remote controller – even if the ideas lead to products like the swiss army knife-looking “cooking pro set” which comes with a tool which combines knive, fork and spatula (“Pfannenwender” in German). And,  of course, you get a plastic pan. So, all Cooking Mamas and Daddies out there, enjoy your meal!

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Move your ass! The ChairIO

The ChairIO was developed by the research group of Steffi Beckhaus from the University of Hamburg. The ergonomic seat can tilt in any direction, rotate and bounce and records the player motions with magnetic trackers which are integrated into the seat. One demo video shows the chair together with a gun prop as a possible setup to play Unreal Tournament. I doubt that one could play with this setup for several hours, but it looks like an appropriate control scheme and great fun to play.

Stay calm…Take a deep breath… Welcome to Wild Divine!

Wild Divine – or the “biofeedback game” as it calls itself – was already released some years ago but is still one of the most exotic game interfaces around and that`s why I put it here. Wild Divine is all about meditation and relaxing. The player “controls” the game most of the time via three thimble-like instruments which track biofeedback like the heart frequency and the skin conductance level. Needless to say, the goal is to calm down and stay with it. So, all you cheerful people – looking for a new challenge?

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Ouch! Here comes the Legshocker

The LegShocker is coming from the people who brought you the famous painstation (the pong game with the really bad punishment if you miss a ball…). And yes, it is about pain again. The legshocker looks like the shin guard footballers wear but with a metallic cylinder on it. Now, imagine you are playing a football game with your friend and the other player commits a foul. The game will trigger the cylinder to move a metal stick up and down to the unguarded part of the shin, depending on the strength of the foul. With this feedback device, multiplayer games of FIFA or PES reach a whole new level…

You want more?

Boktai Solar Sensor – A GBA game with light sensor, changing the game in accordance with the day-time.

The Olfactory Cannon – Shooting different smells at your nose. Uhhh…

Novint Falcon – A very precise aim-and-shoot device which looks (and works) like professional 3D-modelling tools (e.g. Sensable Phantom).

The Buttkicker Gamer – The name tells the whole story.

The Remote-Controlled Human. People controlling people. Really scary.

You know more cool interfaces which are not listed here? Then send me a mail.