Playing video games has always been about fingers and thumbs, with the exception of the motion-sensing progression.

But have you ever heard of actually flexing your muscles to control a game? …neither have I. Until now. A reader sent me a link to a YouTube video from Advancer Technologies; maybe the reader knows I work out all the time and thought I'd be interested. I don't know. I just know I wanna try it. This is one of those times when you look at something, laugh, look some more, and then go, "…hey, that actually looks interesting."

Here's what you can do with a Biofeedback controller:

It's not a complicated concept. To run left, you flex your left bicep, to run right, you flex your right bicep. Flexing your left forearm lets you run and flexing your right forearm jumps. It's Mario in a while new light, and interactive entertainment designed to…well, I'm not entirely sure.

As someone who has been lifting weights for going on 8 years now, I fail to see how this actually builds muscle as there's no weight involved. There's no resistance; hence, no muscle increase. However, at least you're doing something with your muscles, so maybe it increases the endurance of those muscles. At any rate, I still think it's cool.

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VampDeLeon
VampDeLeon
10 years ago

What about those fitness games on the Wii and Kinect?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

What about them? Those all read the movements of your limbs.

Since when do you control a character with the actual flex of the muscle itself?

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

Hehe – it actually looked kinda cool for very, very simple games. But… no thanks.
There's one single new controller type thing I'm interested in, and that's the visor thing. That one looks awesome. As for anything else, well let's say I've learned my lesson with Move.

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
10 years ago

Ben, (y'know, considering your the expert) quick question: Does doing push-ups build muscle mass or is it all endurance? Because I started doing 50 pushups every morning/night and up to a point I saw an increase, but then it stopped. I stepped it up to 70 but I still haven't seen an increase (I ask you this because I don't wanna start doing weights untill I'm fully grown…I heard that you can stunt your growth. I don't believe it for a second but you never know..). Perhaps I need to step it up to something closer to 100? I don't fancy doing that as my arms tire at like 80 but I'll give it a shot I guess.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

It's actually true that you shouldn't start weightlifting until you're fully grown. It's not a matter of stunting growth, but it can get in the way of vital parts of your skeleton that are still growing. Wait until you're 20 or 21, I say.

The reason the push-ups won't increase muscle mass past a certain point is because you're still "lifting" the same weight- you. It's the equivalent of curling the same weight over and over. The muscles will expand to suit that weight so you can do it easier, and doing MORE reps will help to some extent (like doing more push-ups), but unless the weight is increased, you won't see significant size gain.

Weightlifting is about both size and endurance, for the record. I say don't worry about the size and just stay fit for the time being. When you're old enough and ready to hit the free weights, your body will in good enough shape to handle it. Remember, weights put a big strain on the heart; if the heart isn't healthy, weightlifting is extremely dangerous.

AcHiLLiA
AcHiLLiA
10 years ago

..well if ur still growing and interested in lifting weights, I say take it easy with weights, low weight and high reps(12-15) if u can get any reps in between their that means it's time to add weight. If u can't get alteast 6 reps out then u have to drop down the weight. That's good that u can do alot of pushups, next try to add weight on ur back or something, u will see a difference, I like to do pushups after my chest exercises but been lazy this time around, dammit.


Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 12/19/2011 12:46:41 PM

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
10 years ago

Thanks for the advice Ben, I'll keep it in mind in the next 4-5 years when I should be ready to weight-lift (I think I should be able to; I don't have the greatest diet but my heart should be healthy – I do plenty of running during the week) 🙂

By the way, one thing that always happens, is when I tense my arm, quickly stop and bring it down, the bone in my arm makes a 'cracking' sound. I need to do it like twice daily, lest I want to put up with that nagging, 'really need to click it' sorta feeling. Not sure if this is a sign of something (too much strain?)…

Another thing I wanna ask is, if I was to put some things in a bag and put it on my back while doing press-ups, would this help or just exasperate the above-mentioned problem?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

Sounds like just part of growing pains to me. If it's actually painful for you to use that arm in daily normal activities, it's an injury. Otherwise, it'll go away with age, I believe.

As for more weight on the back, fine, but if your arm really IS hurt, that's a problem. Otherwise, provided the technique is fine and you're not straining something you shouldn't be straining, you can do it.

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
10 years ago

Alright then, that I'll do 😀 It doesn't hurt at all, just sounds like it should (everyone cringes whenever I do it hah).

Again, thanks for the advice.

Axe99
Axe99
10 years ago

Nice one Ben, you don't just keep us well up-to-date with the best gaming news, you make sure we don't injure ourselves or mess with our skeletal development :).

Axe99
Axe99
10 years ago

A very interesting story – I've got a long-term health condition that always gets in the way of me exercising as much as I want, but I've always wondered about playing Move games (that require a bit of movement – not RUSE or Echochrome ii, say) with some kind of weight bands on the wrists and ankles to add some of that physical feel to things (without having to strap the Move controllers to custom-made heavy peripherals :)). You could maybe do a similar thing thing with this – get the person to hold weights while flexing (enough weight to work on resistance training, but not so much that they've still got a bit of flex left ).

Of course, a sensible weights routine would be best, but you can't game at the same time as that yet, unless you're playing Active 2 or similar :).

GuernicaReborn
GuernicaReborn
10 years ago

I tried to use resistance bands while playing The Fight: Lights Out. It would have worked, but I couldn't hold onto the handles from the bands and the controllers at the same time. So I guess it really wouldn't have worked.

I tried shadow boxing with resistance bands just to see how it would feel while playing the game, and I think it would be a pretty solid workout, although kind of limited as to what you're working out.

Zorigo
Zorigo
10 years ago

If this was implemented into body pads which send input to the game you could attach some to your arms/body/desired limbs and could have fully body control. Basically a far more precise version of kinect that doesnt require any controllers. squezzing your hand could be registered as trigger pulling for example. Kinect is pretty damn good for the whole body control thing but this could be a step up.