Hundreds of thousands of gamers flocked to Boston this past weekend to get a sneak peek at the latest in gaming technology. PAX East 2012 had a little something for every attendee, from freeplay areas where gamers played classic video games and tabletop games to sections where major video game publishers displayed the biggest soon-to-be-released titles; not to mention, there were tons of networking opportunities.
On the second day, panelists at “Healthy Games: Lose Weight, Live Longer, and Level Up” discussed new-age technology that will help gamers (and non-gamers alike) get fit in a fun way. Put the weights aside and pick up your controller or mobile device. Here are four health-focused tech tools that will keep you fit in a point and click:–Tamika Moultrie
Matt Boch, project director at Harmonix Music Systems, explained to conference attendees how the popular dance-inspired video game merges fitness and fun. Dance Central 2 users won’t just see an improvement in their dance moves, they may also see a sizeable change in their strength and endurance. The game features a built-in calorie counter and fitness playlist so you can track your progress and stay motivated. Earn cool perks such as a new outfit as you burn calories.
Founded by panelist Alex Gourley, BitGym is a startup that has created iPhone and iPad compatible apps that turn exercise equipment into video game machines. The company’s release of fitness app Virtual Active allows users to choose from 10 different workout environments by simply placing the mobile device on the exercise machine. The app is not connected to the exercise machine but reacts based on the vibration generated from your movements and speed. BitGym describes the experience as an “exergame that will bring motion games to the gym.”
“We want our users to push themselves instead of just cheering on,” said Richard Wang, founder and owner of Fitocracy. The online game and social network combines role-playing game (RPG) elements and fitness tracking to drive and motivate users to shed the pounds. The network helps you track your progress through the points system. Users who level up will gain numerous points, unlock achievements and quests, and, ultimately, lose weight. Participants who do exceptionally well can be highlighted as a group leader among their fitness friends, and can opt-in to share their latest accomplishments with their Facebook and Twitter community. Available in the iTunes App Store, the app is compatible with various mobile devices: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad; requires iOS 4.0 or higher.
RunKeeper by FitnessKeeper, Inc., free
RunKeeper, the brainchild of Michael Sheeley, is a fitness app that helps users track and measure their activities and calories burned, in addition to improving overall fitness. Its easy-to-use interface makes fitness tracking simple. The app allows health enthusiasts to share their new developments. They can sync data to the RunKeeper website and share progress with their network via Twitter and Facebook. Runners can stay on their A-game with RunKeeper’s maps integration, target pace and audio cues functions. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad devices (iOS 4.0 and higher), as well as Android-based mobile devices.