Jogging along

jog_395Over the past few weeks, I have been playing with a Wii, and have been quite impressed with what it does.

However, I’ve just received an eBay purchase of a little device that has blown me away.

Introducing the jOG. It looks like a pedometer, and it acts like a pedometer. You clip it to your waistband like a pedometer. But you will also notice that Wii-like cable and plug, and that is a big clue to what this does.

The Basic Wii Controller is the Wii Remote, which has both optical sensing, using infrared, and 3 dimensional motion tracking, using an accelerometer. There is an additional controller used for many games, called the Nunchuck, which also has an accelerometer, but also a little joystick, which can be used to make a game character move about. When in use, the Nunchuck’s cable is plugged into the Wii Remote.

The jOG places itself between the two, the Nunchuck plugs into the jOG, the jOG plugs into the Wii Remote. What it does is intercept the signals from the Nunchuck. Specifically it stops some of the instructions from the joystick, so that when you move the joystick, the game character faces the right way, but does not actually walk or run.

To get your character to walk or run in the direction specified by the joystick, you have to – you’ve guessed it – jog on the spot. Who needs a WiiFit* when any Wii shoot-em-up can be transformed into a workout?

Sceptics and cynics will comment that jogging on the spot in front of a games console is no substitute for going out for a real walk or run; and they’d be right. However, if the person concerned is more interested in playing than exercise, which is better for them – playing a game while laying back on the sofa, or one where they have to keep moving, if they want to go up a level? Studies conducted by John Moores University show that users will take between 6000 and 10,000 steps in an hour’s game play – that’s can’t be bad, surely!

* Although, sadly, I also have a WiiFit.

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