What if, when you were injured and lost blood in a video game, you lost blood in real life, too? The premise might sound like a dystopian nightmare, but two former digital advertising creatives want to apply this concept, called Blood Sport, to make donating blood more fun.
The tech behind Blood Sport is fairly simple: A player is hooked up to a medical blood collection system (the same kind used at blood banks), and every time a player’s character gets hurt in the game, the collection system withdraws blood. A wire is connected to the video game controller’s “rumble pack,” which vibrates every time a player is hit, and reroutes the vibrate signal to an Arduino Board that tells the collection system to withdraw blood. It works with any gaming console with a vibrating controller, and the ultimate aim is to take it on the road to blood drives–not to living rooms.
“Our goal is to develop a refined multiplayer unit that can be taken across the country [Canada] for blood donation gaming events,” Taran Chadha and Jamie Umpherson, the team behind Blood Sport, say on their Kickstarter. At the moment, they only have a single-player prototype but hope to raise $222,000 by January 2, 2015 to create a multiplayer setup.
Of course, a device like this raises questions about safety. Donors input their age, weight, and preexisting medical conditions to help determine how much blood they can give, and Chadha and Umpherson say that the device will not be used without the supervision of a certified professional. But they acknowledge that there could be pitfalls ahead, especially if their system is not compatible with new blood collection technology. “We’ll do our best to work around this, but there is this risk,” they say.
Sure, it’s a creepy concept, but for those who are not squeamish and extremely competitive–or just looking for a more realistic gaming experience–Blood Sport might make donating blood a little more appealing.