Today’s youth live in a world where the “all things digital” movement drastically alters the way they play. Physical and outdoor activity is on the decline, and over the past three decades we’ve seen obesity rates triple in America. With nearly constant access to social media and gaming platforms, children are spending more time playing on digital devices than participating in physical activities. Enter “Loop”, an interactive gaming system that promotes and rewards outdoor-physical activity. The goal of the Loop project is to get children moving again while making it fun and rewarding. The system accomplishes this by looping digital play with the user’s physical activity.
Loop consists of four main components: the Loop Clip, Motion Bar, headphones and an open source gaming platform. The Motion Bar is a movement tracker with an accelerometer and a gyroscope. The bar can be used as a location marker, a wand, or just a home for the clip. The Loop Clip is comprised of a pedometer, audio outputs and solid state storage that contains the downloadable interactive stories. The clip can be attached to the user’s belt buckle or backpack. These two components interact wirelessly over Bluetooth, so movement from the wand will sync and store to the clip. The combination of proximity sensors, a GPS and accelerometers is a potent mix for any game developer who understands the importance of meaningful active exercise.
Through motion, both devices collect data and/about physical accomplishments, which are integrated into the “game,”, creating a positive cause and effect relationship that holds the user’s interest. As players earn credits and complete missions, they unlock new game content. Credits earned are used to purchase upgrades and future titles/games. Game updates are made when the Loop Pack and digital device (PC, tablet or smartphone) are synced. The more children move with Loop, the more they get out of the digital games.
Loop has three primary activity modes: solo, synced, and group. Solo mode is played by simply wearing the Loop Pack throughout the day, and credits are earned to use later in the digital game. More movement means more credits, and more rigorous movement, such as running or jumping, will be rewarded favorably over the simple act of walking.
In group mode, multiple players can join the story by wirelessly syncing their individual packs via Bluetooth. The game’s narrative then evolves to engage multiple players. For example, renditions of “Tag,” “Capture the Flag,” “Hide and Seek” and “Simon Says” will promote social and physical activity.
Loop utilizes children’s love of digital devices to promote physical fitness. Loop’s goal is not to create a fitness regimen, or coerce children into physical activity; it’s goal is to promote fun and socialization through active play.
Loop is a great example of technology enhancing social, active play and an interesting argument against the idea that technological recreation goes hand-in-hand with a decline in physical activity.Protein