Mobile motion camera launches with fitness game

By Jonah Comstock
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BeatboxergameplayIsrael-based Extreme Reality has developed a motion sensor technology using a 2D camera, allowing the motion sensor to be used with mobile devices like tablets and laptops. Indie Hero, a British game company, is launching the first fitness game for this platform.

Extreme Reality's software, called Extreme Motion, offers controller-free motion detection similar to the 3D depth camera on the Microsoft Kinect. However, rather than using structured light to determine movement, which requires special hardware, Extreme Reality's technology uses just the 2D camera and relies on analytical software to identify the user's body and motions. The device is less accurate than a 3D camera, but has other advantages -- for instance it is more functional in low light and sunlight.

Indie Hero's game, called Beatboxer+, is a music-based shadowboxing game that instructs users to use one of six different punching motions in time with the music. Players can use the $15.49 game on its own, or take advantage of a partnership with Shadowboxer, an Australian company that makes a resistance-producing waistband. Incorporating Shadowboxer's hardware adds physical resistance to the workout.

"One of the most interesting things about the way Indie Hero have used the technology is that, using Extreme Motion, for the first time the trend of social and virality is finally arriving to motion games and motion arena," Asaf Barzilay, VP Products at Extreme Reality, told MobiHealthNews. "Up until now motion experiences have been locked up on very dedicated consoles. You couldn't share it on Facebook and link to it and have everyone download it in a second."

Sam Smith, the chief creative officer at Indie Hero, said that Extreme Reality's platform is also easier to develop for than a dedicated console. Indie Hero is a relatively new company dedicated to fitness games specifically.

"What we've done is essentially layer traditional game modes like high scores with the fitness statistics. We've layered in calorie burn rate over days, weeks, months, etc. We haven't pointed out to the user which ones are fitness-related and which are game-related. So they're essentially working out without realizing they're working out."

Beatboxer+ runs on any Windows PC or tablet. However, Extreme Reality's tech is portable to iOS devices as well, and they're working on Android integration. The technology also works with the camera on smartphones, but that's impractical for a gaming use case since the user has to stand four feet from the device and must still be able to see the screen.

Outside of gaming, Barzilay said Extreme Reality is looking into possible security-related use cases, such as identifying people based on skeletal recognition.