University of Victoria

Together we CanAssist.

Motivational Gaming Bicycle

The device is available for people to try in CanAssist's lobby.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