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BodyPad: new game controller represents another step in the evolution of the CHI

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May 11, 2006

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May 12, 2006 You don’t need a degree in ergonomic engineering to realise that the Computer Human Interface (CHI) is still in its infancy. The QWERTY keyboard was designed 150 years ago, shaped by all the wrong reasons, and still masquerades as high tech when it is indeed a dinosaur. Ironically, it has been given an indefinite stay of execution thanks to the invention of the mouse, the lack of an obvious successor and a curious human resistance to change. Promising technologies such as handwriting recognition and voice recognition cried “ready” a few too many times before they really were and damaged consumer trust and … let’s just say that when we find a better way, we’re looking forward to a ceremonial burning of the keyboard. Logically, the computer can be interfaced with the human in many ways, and the BodyPad is a perfect example, as it turns body movements into computer inputs, effectively turning the human body into a Gamepad! BodyPad is a motion sensor game controller that works with Sony's Playstation 1 & 2 and Microsoft's XBox. Though it’s compatible with almost every existing video game, it’s ideal for fighting, dance games, and some sports games too! Indeed, a bit further down the track, we can see the BodyPad teaching us how to dance, box, throw a baseball, shoot a basketball or kick a football.

BodyPad is a universal hardware system which works with existing games: no dedicated software is needed! BodyPad attaches to the gamers body and through flex-extensions of the players' arms and legs the game signals are triggered. More basic signals, such as direction and specific game signals are sent through buttons located on the BodyPad handles.

BodyPad signals operate on a 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency for up to 30 ft away from the screen: yet the Gamer only needs approximately 3 square feet in which to play the games.

BodyPad can be played as One Player only or up to 4 BodyPad friends may play at one time!

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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