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Brief Published: 13 Feb 2015

Heartbeat-Controlled Gaming

Skip a Beat

Skip a Beat is a new mobile game controlled by the player's heart rate, developed by Amsterdam-based software company Happitech, which makes body-feedback software to help power good habits.

In the game, players help Skip the frog avoid obstacles by tapping the screen, while holding another finger over the phone's flash to measure their heart rate. Players achieve better scores by maintaining a target heart rate – which becomes more challenging as the game progresses and becomes more exciting.

The idea is to encourage players to learn to relax and lower their heart rate, in order to improve personal happiness and manage stress. The game comes with tips for users to lower their heart rate, such as becoming mindful of their breathing and releasing tensed muscles. It also lists stress-reducing tactics to use during the day, including taking time to unplug from electronic devices.

Happitech is aiming for its biofeedback software to become a "powerful trigger to help people develop self-awareness and form positive habits". The company plans to release its software to other app developers.

As consumers become increasingly concerned with managing their physical and mental wellbeing, personal tech is starting to offer insights into more than activity levels. For more, see Beyond Wearables, where we explore the commercial potential of mood-reading machines, and Hybrid Health, which pinpoints the latest stress sensors.