Eelke Folmer
Human+ Lab
University of Nevada, Reno

Pet-N-Punch: Upper Body Tactile/Audio Exergame

In previous studies with tactile/audio exergames (see VI Tennis and VI Bowling) we found that these games can engage their players into light/moderate physical activity. The Center for Disease Control recommends kids to engage into 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day, which should include at least 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity. A limitation of previous tactile/audio exergames is that they only involve motions of a single arm.

How it works

We developed an exergame called Pet-N-Punch, which can be played using both arms, which may stimulate a larger energy expenditure. Pet-N-Punch's gameplay is inspired by whac-a-mole games and players have to help a farmer rid its fields of carrots from varmints. Haptic cues indicate when to hit and with which arm. A user study with 12 blind children found that they could engage into moderate physical activity (but not into vigorous). Energy expenditure was measured using accelerometers and heart rate. No significant difference in energy expenditure was detected between the one handed and the two handed version, which could also be because of a limitation in existing techniques for measuring energy expenditure accurately. The two arm version had a significantly higher error rate than the one arm version, which hints that playing the game using two arms has a higher associated cognitive load.

Link

This game can be downloaded from our VI Fit website. All you need is a $15 Wii remote and a bluetooth compatible PC.

Publication

Tony Morelli, John Foley, Lauren Lieberman, Eelke Folmer. Pet-N-Punch: Upper Body Tactile/Audio Exergame to Engage Children with Visual Impairments into Physical Activity, in Proceedings of Graphics Interface (GI'11). Pages 223-230, St John, New Foundland, Canada, May 2011. [31% acceptance rate]