Exergaming, skeletal hands, and perpetual technology - it's virtually a sport

Intel Develop Blog: Softtalkblog explores how developers can combine exercise and gaming
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You’ll notice in a number of my previous blog posts that I make reference to and discuss perceptual computing quite a bit, and you’ll no doubt have recognised this trend in your reading elsewhere.

Well, one of the reasons for this is ‘exergaming’ – combining exercise with electronic game playing and technology – and the many questions that surround it.

There’s a large and growing market for apps in exergaming and the virtualisation of sport. Much of society is taking more notice of the way we live, choosing to take more exercise as the benefits become increasingly stark.

Combine this with today’s technology, growing app market and your ability to code apps and you may well become that person ‘in the right place, at the right time’.

While there are various already available examples of apps that combine sports and gaming, they are at best limited and are more often than not nothing more than a poor excuse for the real thing. The advent of perceptual technology however has the potential to change this.

Take this very exciting example. Intel’s Skeletal Hand Tracking library, a system designed to track and index the 3D positioning of a subject’s hand (17 bones inside it anyway) with the overarching objective of replicating movements in and interactions with a virtual 3D environment.

It does this using a Creative Interactive Gesture Camera which allows coders to develop natural, immersive, innovative software applications which use hand tracking, speech recognition, face analysis and 2D/3D object tracking.

The system is thus replicating and extending human capability into a world which operates under a different set of rules which can be determined by the coder (very Matrix indeed!). The possibility for creativity is therefore only limited by your imagination! The ramifications of this are obviously huge. Sport and exercise and the way we mortals engage with them will fundamentally alter; rain checking a game of squash just got that much harder.

If you are a 3D graphics or interaction C/C++ developer then feel free to experiment with the library at your leisure. There’s a video introduction to the concept online which should prove useful.

Obviously the experiment is still in its early stages but any and all feedback is most welcome.

• This blog post is written by Softtalkblog, and is sponsored by the Intel Developer Zone, which helps you to develop, market and sell software and apps for prominent platforms and emerging technologies powered by Intel Architecture.