When you think of body computing—monitoring physical health using technology—it generally conjures images of middle-aged or elderly folks in sterile settings. But the future of body computing is in the teen market, especially if the iPhone heart rate monitor prototype introduced today at the third Body Computing Conference ever goes to market.
To play the game, you wear a patch that transmits your heart rate to an iPhone app. (This capability alone would find a market in the running world, since it does not exist today, but why stop there?) The device takes the heart rate data and broadcasts it over Facebook, Twitter, text messages, and email turning it into a social game. You could snap a picture, send it to a friend over your phone, for instance, and get a read of your friend's heart rate when they see the picture (creepy!). Or, using Bluetooth, you could get a snapshot of the heart rates of people who are wearing the patches around you (fun party game?).
"We were told it wasn't worth designing for teenagers if there wasn't a strong self-play piece," says Dr. Leslie Saxon, the conference cofounder and Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at USC. "So, pretend we're teenagers and we're going to broadcast to each other incessantly as we do math homework."
The games are only roughly sketched out at this point, but the organizers of the conference have partnered with the medical device giant Corventis in creating the patch and working iPhone app shown today. And while there are no plans to bring the patch to market as of yet, it does offer a window into the vast number of as yet untapped possibilities presented by body computing.