Bit of a Ramble on Experiencing Biofeedback Games & A Video on Consumer Devices

Ever since my undergrad supervisor got me interested in designing biofeedback games I’ve been hooked. When you research biofeedback games you see a lot of cool and interesting things from your fellow researchers but getting to experience those systems is very difficult. For example, the adaptive Tetris game we developed at Liverpool John Moores University uses a Biosemi EEG which is prohibitively expensive. If anyone else was going to experience the game they’d either have to already have the setup we used to run the game or need to rebuild the EEG processing pipeline to make it work.

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Musing about the Muse’s Signal Quality

I’ve been looking to buy a new consumer grade EEG headset to replace my MindBand. While I like the form factor of the MindBand it’s limited to a single channel of EEG. There were murmurs of a 2 channel EEG at the time the headset was purchased, back in 2012, but I never managed to find where to purchase it, and it was possible the adverts were confusing the electrode count with the channel count.
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"Love is Over" – Gaming a Love Tester

Originally posted on
Following on from my earlier adventure with the stress tester, sat right next door was a love tester, presumably developed by the same company given it was using the same chassis as the stress tester*. The love tester is probably one of the most familiar, and oldest, commercial biofeedback games around. Its function is to assess the sexual magnetism of the player using a comically named rating scale e.g. “Cold and Clammy” for no magnetism, “Out of Control” for lots. A love tester is basically a gag device which uses physiological input to provide some authenticity to the assessment. Their a common prop in media where making fun of the sexual prowess of a character is needed (e.g. The Simpsons); you can often find a love tester in a bar or the funfair if you want to try one out,
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Working with Sensors: Transparency versus Quality Assurance

Building a rudimentary galvanic skin response sensor
Building a rudimentary galvanic skin response sensor

Originally posted on
Recently I’ve been developing mechanics for a range of biofeedback projects, one of which was featured, over the summer, in an art exhibit at FACT Liverpool. These projects have been developed with the general public in mind, and so I’ve been working with consumer electronics rather than the research grade devices I normally use.
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Will the Wii Vitality every reach 99% of all customers?

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At a recent investor conference, Nintendo was rumoured to of stated that the reason the Wii Vitality has not been released was because it only works for 80% of players and before they release it they want it to work for 99%. If this issue concerns the physiological game mechanic (i.e. only 80% of players can control their physiology according to the requirements of the game mechanic), then the product will be on hold for a very long time.
Note: For the purposes of this post I’m going to assume Nintendo are experimenting with a heartbeat (HR) rate based biofeedback relaxation game which they’ve alluded to previously at E3 2009. However what I’m going to say applies equally to all physiological game mechanics I know of and should be borne in mind when developing your own physiological game.
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Time Keeps on a Slippin

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Most people I know who work in the field of physiological computing purchase off-the-shelf sensors for their research. There’s nothing specifically wrong with this, most of us are not engineers and nor do we have the time to become one as our interests lie elsewhere. At LJMU all our equipment is off-the-shelf and we have some damn fine devices which we’ve used in our work (e.g. see my review of the BM CS-5 cheststrap). However I’ve noticed we place a lot of faith (and money) in these devices to do what they say on the tin (e.g. see the issue I raised last year about the software bundled with BioHarness). Personally I like to know the limitations of any equipment I’m using, and if I find anything outside the spec I’ll try to figure out why (sometimes to my detriment as you’ll see below). Its not that I’m particularly troubled if a sensor has any defects as I don’t expect them to be perfect, the problem I have is with defects I don’t know about as they can make things, problematic to say the least. For example the first off-the-shelf sensor I ever worked with was the WaveRider Pro a 4 channel biofeedback device which had a slight problem with counting time.
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