UVic Engineers Offer Fitness Cure for Couch Potatoes

How do you keep budding couch potatoes off the sofa? University of Victoria engineering students may have the answer, with their unique design that allows video game enthusiasts to exercise while playing video games.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s report “Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 year-olds,” children spend an average of 44.5 hours per week nearly motionless in front of a computer or television screen. In other words, being sedentary appears to be their full-time job. “The Future of Exercise” project involves a video game interface that uses recumbent exercise bikes to enhance the gaming experience.

“In a project jointly sponsored by Microsoft Research and LeMond Fitness, our team is modifying a Le-Mond G-Force recumbent exercise bike to be a tactile video game controller,” explains team member Susan Perkins. “We’ll be adapting the bike to use video arcade components such as joysticks and buttons to merge with information from the bike itself, such as RPM, heart rate, resistance, or calories spent. Finally, we’ll meet with scientists at Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Flight Simulator X team to evaluate the results.”

“The Future of Exercise” is just one of 13 projects that will be on display when UVic’s fourth-year electrical and computer engineering students present their final design projects on Friday, March 30from 4 p.m. in the lobby of the Engineering Lab Wing. The local chapter of the international organization, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, will award the best designs.

Other projects on view include: a monitor to keep track of household power consumption; a chip that recognizes user-spoken commands in real time and issues commands to household appliances; a solar-powered LED flasher system to improve school zone indicators; a device to catalog and track artwork; and a campus navigation system designed for hand-held wireless devices.

These projects give senior students an opportunity to practise the skills they’ve learned while at UVic. Some of the students created their designs in partnership with local companies, while others worked solo. For more details visit www.ece.uvic.ca/499/ and click on “current projects.”

-- 30 --

Media contacts

Dr. Adam Zielinski (Electrical and Computer Engineering) at 250-721-8622 or adam@uvic.ca

In this story

Keywords: uvic, engineers, offer, fitness, cure, couch, potatoes

Related stories