emg game - Muscle Coordination Game
EMG stands for electromyography, which is the recording of electrical activity from muscles. This game made use of EMG signals to explore
novel interactive controls and group coordination toward a common goal.
Essentially it was a two-player collaborative game where each player had to control one axis of a labyrinth ball game. Since this game is usually played by one person, the pair had to get in tune with one another and operate as a unit.
To add to the challenge, they had to control the game through unconventional means. Instead of using their hands, their fore-arm muscles controlled the labyrinth axes through contractions.
So in addition to learning coordination with each other, they both had to learn how to coordinate their own muscles to play the game, which added a layer of newness and excitement.
I chose muscle sensors partially because of my background in biomedical engineering, and I wanted to test their reliability. Conclusion: they are finicky, but sufficient for this prototype. Careful placement on the muscle was necessary to get a useful signal.
I used an Arduino to relay the electrical signal from the electromyosensors to servos. The servos rotated the labyrinth axes in direct proportion to the amount of muscle contraction. Each player had to be calibrated prior to playing to get their minimum and maximum signal.
One of my favorite things about this project was how a
crude prototype could still elicit enthusiasm and engagement because of the psychological root of the activity.
Unfortunately I didn't capture a video of these two playing their actual match - it was an intense game filled with suspense, and the entire room cheered them on until they won.
Here is a quick demo video...