University of Victoria

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Motivational Gaming Bicycle

What is it?

This unique system encourages people to exercise while playing video games. The system uses a commercial bicycle to control the gameplay instead of a traditional gaming console. So, for example, while playing a car racing video game, the user's onscreen car increases speed when the user pedals faster; likewise, by steering the bike, the user steers the car on the screen.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Key features

  • sensors and switches mounted on a standard bike include: a torque sensor (for power), cadence measurement (for forward and backward movement), brakes lever switches, and a twist throttle
  • signals from the switches and sensor are sent via USB to a gaming controller box, which in turn is connected to a PlayStation or Xbox console; the controller box allows the user to map the switches on the  bike to the appropriate buttons in order to allow different games to be played                                                                                                                                                                                    
  • for individuals who wish to control a game on a PC, the bike may be directly connected to a USB input
  • the device sits on a standard bike trainer in the rear to provide resistance
  • the bike's front tire sits on a custom platform, which acts as a steering input and keeps the bike level

Who is it for?

The device was originally developed for a client with mental health challenges who faced a number of barriers to engaging in regular physical activity. For example, a side effect of the medication he was taking resulted in very low motivation to exercise. The bike was used to help increase his level of activity.

Photo (top left): a CanAssist visitor takes the bike for a test run.




Section Navigation: Technologies