BowBlade puts gamers in touch with their inner Katniss Everdeen
By Ben Coxworth
February 1, 2013
If you like to play first-person shooter games on your smartphone, you already have the option of making the gameplay more realistic by mounting your phone on the gun-like AppBlaster. However, what if you prefer shooting virtual arrows over virtual bullets? You’d need some sort of bow-like smartphone-holding gadget for that, wouldn’t you? Well, that’s just what the BowBlade is.
The device was invented by Canadian chiropractor Ron Green, as a means of combining fitness with gaming. In fact, it can be used without the phone, as a stand-alone exercise unit.
Weighing a little under four pounds (1.8 kg), it incorporates two connected vertically-oriented blades made from “airplane strength material.” The front blade is held out with one arm like the actual bow, while the rear blade is drawn back by the other, like the string. The smartphone or other handheld gaming device is mounted on the front blade, where the user can view the gameplay on its screen.
Virtual arrows are shot using a phone-mount-located hammer mechanism, that taps on the phone’s screen – just like the user’s thumb would do, if they weren’t using the BowBlade. Here’s how it works ...
A string runs from the hammer back to the rear blade, where the user’s index finger sits inside a ring attached to the end of the string. As the user pulls the blade back with their arm, they create tension on the string. When the tension is almost sufficient to activate the hammer, they will feel it in the ring. Once they’re ready to shoot, they just pull the ring back with their finger, adding the last little bit of tension needed to fire.
So far, the BowBlade has been found to work with at least 35 iOS and Android games – and yes, Hunger Games is one of them. Its blade tension can be adjusted, to allow for different users and more intense gaming workouts.
It’s available now for pre-order, and is expected to begin shipping in April. Depending on the specific model chosen, prices range from US$185 to $230.
The BowBlade can be seen in use in the video below.