UK company combines stairmaster, PlayStation

British company's Step2Play exercise machine forces kids to keep up heart rate--or have their games automatically pause.

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Childhood obesity has had a great deal of press lately, thanks to campaigns about school meals and worrying statistics about diabetes. One UK company is taking a novel approach to combining kids' love of games with their need to exercise. The Oceana Trading Company has released a new addition to its Gymkids range--the Step2Play exercise machine, which works with the PlayStation to keep games working only as long as kids keep stepping on the machine.

Sweatin' with the young ones.

The product uses patented technology and claims to work with any PlayStation or PlayStation 2 game. A sensor detects if the desired exercise rate is not maintained and pauses the game until kids get stepping again.

The exercise machines are designed to be used by children aged between 7 and 11 years old, and cost £115 each (around $218)--but the company stresses that they are not meant to be used without parental supervision.

In an interview with the BBC, Dr. Ian Campbell, honorary medical director for charity Weight Concern and former chairman of the UK National Obesity Forum, expressed his disappointment at the machines, stating that he believed they were "a terrible indictment of society."

He told the BBC that he thought a more far-reaching exercise program would be more useful and effective. "Anything that encourages them [children] to exercise has to be helpful. However, how sad that we have to bribe children into physical activity...I don't think this is a bad invention, but I don't think it's ideal. It would be far better to encourage an increase in physical activity across the board, at both school and at home."

Rick Dalton, director of Gymkids, laughed at the comments in an interview with GameSpot. "In some ways I'd agree with him," he joked. "In an ideal world, people would be able to do what they want, kids would be able to play games and get the right amount of exercise. Sadly, we don't live in this world. As to bribing them, well, if it means bribing them a little bit, don't parents do that anyway? Even if it's to get kids to go somewhere with you, you might say 'I'll buy you a soft drink if you come.' It's all about compromise."

The company is hoping to have the Step2Play on the UK market by Christmas.

Discussion

39 comments
_Sam_
_Sam_

they should just play DDR :P

luckyluke21
luckyluke21

i think kids age 11 will be able to just unplug the machine and put a normal joystick in there not stupid so i dont think it will work.

cjcr_alexandru
cjcr_alexandru

Who will buy this? Who will use this? I think nobody. Useless. As Timonius said, there are better alternatives.

Timonius
Timonius

Heh £115 !? Wow, I mean... just Wow... it senses movement, the EyeToy can do the same essentially and its only £20! Give it 10 minutes and any child will be sobbing "I don't wanna play anymore"... and too right, anything that kepps your heart rate up like that is potentially dangerous anyhow... Just slipping into a comfortable game of Kingdom Hearts 2, watching the cutscenes and Woah! It paused, better get sprinting their laddy... It would be like doing push-ups whilst playing Myst for the PC... Parents, may I be the first to point out the alternatives out there... DDR and Eyetoy are - a) Cheaper b) Actually have a point to them c) Kids will certainly do them, rather than ignore d) Great for when the kids have gone to bed e) instant hit at any party with drink involved Heh, "I wanna see the backend of level 3 and two buckets of sweat in the next 10 minutes or so help me you will not experience a grounding this bad since the Bay of Pigs... Now Soldier! MOVE!"

Maquis_UK
Maquis_UK

lol there are sooo many fat chav kids. but anyone with that much money won't want ps2 these days, will they?

A7Xfan
A7Xfan

I work out everyday (at least 6 days a week) and many of those days i play video games..what else can I say? People are losing self-control imo.

Scammeleon
Scammeleon

Okay, if the kids old enough to work out how to use the console, the they'll be old enough to figure out how to unplug this abomination and play games normally. If they can't do this, then they'' just stop playing, and in all probabilty just go watch TV. I cant see how anyone could think this'd work. Has anyone tried walking on the spot when playing a game? its not exactly natural, especially if you've got to keep a set pace. And lets face it, if a kid's game keeps pausing, and the only way to continue is to put more effprt in, then the kids just gonna walk off. Maybe that's the point though. Maybe this product is actually designed to not be used. The idea of this treadmill-wannabe is that it gets kids to do more exercise. Maybe it acheives this not by the child using it, but by it putting the child off playing videogames, so instead of having to endure this rubbish, they can go play outside. Also this isn't bribing them to do exercise, its just making something a whole lot less fun. It might be a bribe if the exercise was there first, but it wasn't, this is just taking something away from gaming. £115? For a device your kids won't use? and'll make them stop using the £200 worth of present you trawled through crowded xmas stores two years ago for? Any child who gets this for christmas has my sincerest pity. But as i say, this product's entire purpose is to not be used, and to make gaming a whole lot harder, so that the kids run out into the park and get rabies from a squirrel or something.

aindovin
aindovin

Why didn't the Matrix just severe everyone's spinal cord or something? Or couldn't they have used gorillas or monkeys instead of people? That way less people to revolt.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Erm...well, as a parent you could confiscate the entire games console and force the chubby little turds out to play with their friends. To be honest the whole childhood obesity problem stems from incompetant parenting so tackling the root of the problem would make a lot more sense than this cop-out.

fingerpaint
fingerpaint

I like video games and hate exercise. I think that makes me just not care about this stupid device.

zicky
zicky

another company trying to make money from vonrable parents, sad realy, someone should make regaltion on these things, what if the poor child was playing final fantsy or metal gear, that kid would calpse

starcher5150
starcher5150

How can I eat Nachos and Twinkies while walking on a stupid stair master? It's enough exercise going to the kitchen to refill my 32 ounce Mountain Dew.

Thorpe89
Thorpe89

I read about this on BBC News the other day. I suppose it is vital for a product like that to come out to the market now.

Schillinger
Schillinger

Well, there was an exercise bike attachment for the SNES, this is nothing new.

Jhonie_Fklits25
Jhonie_Fklits25

I'm a 14 year old kid, and if I'm playing too much ps2, I'm kicked outside to go play. My parents don't bribe, they parent!

Shleco
Shleco

And there was I thinking a Stairmaster was something that helped grannies up the stairs.

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

What a diabolical machine. Anyway, back in the day if I was playing too much NES, my parents would boot me out of the house to go play. As many other people in these forums have said, RAISE YOUR KIDS. If you can't make time to do that or you find that child-rearing is "not for you", put them up for adoption and please kill yourself.

Fire_Fly
Fire_Fly

What happened to a good game of footie at the park?

dukerav
dukerav

Dace67 Wrote: "... or parents could actually get involved with their children's lives." I totally agree with you.

honeybuzzer
honeybuzzer

they should hook these up to some sort of electricity generator, so that parents can then sell power back to the grid and make some money. The Matrix, here we come!

Karribuhater115
Karribuhater115

This device seems like another way to control children. If people really want kids to be active whilst playing video games, buy them a Wii or get them a DDR mat and game, the latter would be a LOT cheaper than this stupid Step2Play and the former would be far more entertaining and worthwhile in the long run. Then you know, parents could always encourage their children to play outside. Is anyone else getting so sick of all this health nonsense? I mean there's the ads about Cholesterol, blood pressure etc and that stupid BMI which is inaccurate since muscle weighs more than fat.

starfoxmcleoud
starfoxmcleoud

the only thing worse than this pos and the parents that let their kids sit around playing pokemon, yugioh, and other crap all day getting fat and wondering why they have no energy, is them actually buying it. I agree with the whole DDR idea, but they don't have enough energy to put themselves through something like that. And I was only allowed 30 minutes a day on the NES back when it was out, then I had to go outside and play.

Dace67
Dace67

... or parents could actually get involved with their children's lives.

apwc
apwc

When I was kid, my parents would set a kitchen timer above my NES. When it dinged, (and some how she always heard it ding) it would be time to turn it off and go outside. We had a basketball hoop, bikes, and a huge trampoline, all of which encouraged us to get away from the TV. You don't need to bribe your kids to exercise--make them, it can be just as fun as any video game.

manapsal
manapsal

ewwww...that seems totally unnecessary

Talgrath
Talgrath

If you don't have the cahojones to tell your kids to stop playing video games and go outside and play (and the will to force them to do so) then you don't deserve to be a parent; especially if your kids are younger then 12 years old.

Reetesh
Reetesh

The NEw DDR!? Would be cool to seeho it really tuns out :D

balindos
balindos

In a way this is really stupid but in reality we have to many kids playing video games and not enough playing outside anymore. I think parents should restrict kids from playing games since it really doesnt help them in life later. I played as a kid but not that much, just when friends would come over at night mostly.

SpareJesus
SpareJesus

I actually hope this doesn't sell. Not because I'm for obesity and diabetes (I have that!), but because of the restrictions it places on children. Instead of being fun or entertaining like some consider Dance Dance Revolution can be, it forces children to not only have to try playing with a controller, but also pump their legs at the same time. I can only see it as being aggrivating, why would you give your child a device that pauses the game and stops you from playing? Not only that, but having it cost more than a console itself? Bah. Make something fun, like a BMX game or whatever. This stupid type of device will only anger people that want to have fun. This makes games seem like a chore instead. And as someone else already stated, adults and parents should be teaching kids about healthy eating, exercise and whatnot. I'm a heavy gamer, but at least I eat right and exercise every day, and not just because of my diabetes. (Hell, even McDonalds are beginning to support 'healthy eating' now, and they'll damage your health far more than videogames ever will..)

Robert-Sapolski
Robert-Sapolski

This is kinda ridiculous, are parents so bad that they cant tell there kids to have a break and do exercise? It reminds me off this PS2 locking thing that made kids only play for a certain amount of time then it locks. Stupid.

courtez2k4
courtez2k4

It seems like a waste of time to me. The machine costs more the console its plugged into. I know it's not always easy for parents but they should be the ones encouraging their children to have more exercise. It seems silly to make a fairly passive activity like gaming a little more active instead pushing children to actually be more active. I just hope Nintendo, as much as I like 'em, don't jump on this bandwagon and try to promote Wii games like Wii Sports as making people more active. Or Sony with EyeToy for that matter.

aindovin
aindovin

Of course, this would only aggravate kids because its so restrictive. I'd rather have a game built around it instead of locking/unlocking. I just dont see this working

aindovin
aindovin

I want this. I hope all companies copy this.