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Flex your muscles: EMG-based serious game controls

Author:Philipp Müller, Philipp Achenbach, André Mihca Kleebe, Jan Ulrich Schmitt, Ute Lehmann, Thomas Tregel, Stefan Göbel
Date:October 2020
Kind:In proceedings - use for conference & workshop papers
Book title:Serious Games. JCSG 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Editor:M. Ma, B. Fletcher, S. Göbel, J. Baalsrud Hauge, T. Marsh
Pages:230 - 242
Keywords:Human-computer interaction, Health games, Electromyography
Research Area(s):Networked Gaming
Abstract:In recent years, non-traditional input devices for digital games and applications such as wearable sensors have become increasingly available and affordable. Electromyography (EMG) promises some unique advantages over traditional input devices such as keyboards or gamepads by collecting input data directly at a person’s muscle. As long as the corresponding muscle is intact, EMG can be used even when physical movement is not possible, for example when a person is injured or has an amputated limb. It also allows for unique wearable positioning on the body, potentially allowing for a larger freedom of movement. In this paper, we examine whether an EMG-based input device is feasible to control an in-game character in a digital game. In order to do so, we first assess different EMG-related technologies and available EMG devices. Based on this assessment, we develop an EMG-based input device that can be connected to a computer. We develop a side scrolling game which can be connected to the EMG-based input device and allows for the player to switch between keyboard- and EMG-based controls. Lastly, we evaluate our developed system empirically and discuss the feasibility of EMG-based game controllers based on observed practical and theoretical limitations of the technology.
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