Our goal for this project is to research how we can motivate children to maintain a more active lifestyle. Since children already spend lots of time playing video games, we want to see if we can leverage that engagement and synthesize it with exercise activities. We are using the Microsoft Kinect sensor to register body movements. Currently, we have a basic application framework that recognizes a few gestures, such as jumping jacks, waving, reaching an arm across the body, and flying. You can watch the demo on YouTube.
This past week I’ve been researching the current state of Kinect games, such as exercise games and games geared toward children. So far I’ve found that current exercise games tend to be tailored to adults – they simulate a gym setting and have the user follow exercise routines that one would find in a cardio or strength and conditioning class. While this is good for adults, it may not hold the attention for young children. Dancing games are more engaging, but tend to be tailored for teens and adults. Story telling games, such as Harry Potter and Star Wars, do a good job at incorporating body movements in order to complete game activities, however they too can get boring, and gestures can still be recognized if the user is sitting on the couch.
I’m an undergraduate student at the University of Florida, majoring in Digital Arts and Sciences. I’ve been interested in inspiring my friends and family to lead more healthy and active lifestyles since high school, so this project is very fitting.