Trampoline Game Interface As An Exercise Support System
This exercise support system uses movement on the trampoline as input in a virtual space. Under development by a research group at Tsukuba University, the latest version allows for a wider range of movements in the game world. In addition to the forward, balancing, and jumping motions which were available in the previous version, the user can now input sideways and backward motions.
"We've developed this system to make exercise less intimidating for people who aren't used to it. Exercising on a trampoline has less impact on the legs and back than exercising on the floor, and it can be very effective. We thought that combining exercise on a trampoline with a virtual space might be a way to make exercise fun. And that's how we've developed this system."
To reflect the motion of the toes and heels of both feet, there are four infrared range sensors beneath the trampoline. They are used to detect changes in the trampoline surface.
"The sensors detect the position of the user's center of gravity, showing whether the person is leaning left or right. If the center of gravity moves continuously left then right, that's detected as "walking forward," and if the body weight is to the left for a certain time, that's a "balancing motion." If the trampoline surface is depressed, that's detected as a "jump"."
As well as changes in the trampoline surface, the system now uses sensors to detect the user's foot positions. In this demo, the direction of movement changes depending on which way the feet are pointing, and walking in place with the feet spread apart constitutes backward motion.
"As the purpose of this system is to help people exercise, we'd like to take it into the homes of people who don't usually exercise, such as seniors. That way, we could do field tests, to see whether exercising like this is sustainable over the long term."