“What I enjoyed about this one was how they used phones to get kids moving. I’ve seen apps on iPads or larger screens try to do this, but it’s great to see it done so well on a mobile phone.” —juror Isabel Kantor
“Impressive and fun! An innovative way to address screen overuse that keeps people active and engaged.” —juror Pablo Vio
Overview: Millennials spend an average of 223 minutes a day on their phones. In order to transform some of this phone time into an active experience, a team of seven students at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) created FLUX, a mobile game that redefines touchscreen gestures with full-body interactions. Running in place powers the game. Instead of tapping to jump, users have to physically jump. And instead of swiping to change direction, users turn their bodies. FLUX motivates people to get their blood pumping while having fun on their phones.
• FLUX was the result of RIT’s New Media Team Project.
• The game was developed in C# using Unity, and the environment visuals were 3-D modeled in Cinema 4D.
• FLUX was exhibited at Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.
Comments by Amy Pham:
What do you think are the project’s core features? “In addition to the main game, users can earn FLUX Facts cards when they meet certain achievements. With these cards, users can learn how getting active benefits their health, and easily spread the word by sharing them with family and friends. We also have an activity tracker. After each game session, users see how long they’ve been moving and work their way up to their daily target time. This gets logged into the activity tracker, where users can see how they’ve done throughout the week. To push themselves to move more, they can raise their daily goal time.”
Are there any other technical features you’d like to call attention to? “The most unique technical feature of FLUX is how we detect whether our user is jumping, running or standing still. We got data from the accelerometer found in smartphones and converted it into data that shows how much force was applied to the phone. If it passed a certain threshold, that would mean the user is jumping. If it didn’t reach this threshold but was higher than a lower threshold, that meant that the user was running.”
What was the response? “Many people of all ages visited our exhibit, and there were smiles all around. Kids would finish and get back in line to play again, and we had friends compete against one another. We got responses like ‘It’s wonderful seeing my son up and active while on the phone’ and ‘As someone who does not exercise, I would definitely exercise to this!’”