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Webz of War

This semester-long research project was funded by the U.S. Military and the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. I was the lead designer and 3D artist on this 8-person project, and we were tasked with exploring the use of biometric data in exergames.

We built a 2-player game that used a Kinect, two Wii Fit Balance Boards, and two Polar Heart Monitors. The game involves leaning side to side to steer a hoverboard, and punching to shoot plasma projectiles at giant robot spiders.

The heart rate monitors take a base-level heart rate at the start and then track the player’s heart rate as it goes up and down throughout the experience. We translate increases in heart rate to stronger plasma projectiles, meaning putting more effort into the exercise results in more excitement and satisfaction in the game.

We studied the results using data collected from the heart monitors and surveys of the players. Our results were published by IEEE and presented at Games for Health in Boston 2013.

In addition to the research in exergaming, this project also involved an unusual hardware exploration that resulted in a physical installation. We combined input from two Wii Fit Balance Boards and a Kinnect to make full-body immersive gameplay.

We showcase this installation at a local festival in Pittsburgh and also set it up on display at the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center in Washington D.C.


P. Navarro, M. Johns, et al., “Webz of War: A cooperative exergame driven by the heart,” 2013 IEEE International Games Innovation Conference (IGIC), Vancouver, BC, 2013, pp. 187-190, doi: 10.1109/IGIC.2013.6659125.

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