Electric Boogio

Thursday, September 18, 2014
I covered the Stinky Footboard a long while ago, which is an excellent pure-blooded gaming foot controller, but I came across another excellent foot controller this year at PAX Prime.  It's called the Boogio developed by Reflx Labs and Qi2, and you can wear it in your shoes with no added weight.  These things are efficient!  They are a sticker with pressure sensors, accelerometer, and soon will include gyroscopes, all of this on the bottom of your insole.  While I find the technology fascinating in itself and it's capacity, what I really find sexy is the potential for gaming, health, and general computing uses, particularly in tandem with Oculus Rift.

Boogie has numerous applications for gaming; it could make games with difficult or complex controls less awkward. If you have difficulty using your hands, you could *ahem* step to the left, take it back, move to the right and become your team's VIP just by applying pressure to or  moving your feet. More obvious uses include controlling movement while wearing an Oculus (a very immersive experience) or using them for dance and rhythm games without the need for bulky peripherals. Because it's programmable, there are almost no limit to it's uses.

The tech that makes the Boogio function is fascinating. Below are some specs from the device's website:

Now available for pre-order, the Boogio developer kit is comprised of ultra-thin sensory stickers, 3-axis accelerometers and 3-axis gyroscopes in small Bluetooth-enabled clips, configuration software and two USB cables for a price of $189.00. Each sensor has 65,000 layers of pressure sensitivity, so simple shifts of the body can be detected. As you move, Boogio is able to sense the pressure exerted in different parts of your foot, capturing high-fidelity feedback on a variety of movements, including steps, jumps, squats, and kicks. These sensory shoe accessories come in pairs on an open wearable platform and are compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android platforms

What's more interesting is the origin of the Boogio. While it can be used for everything from gaming to simply showing a power point, the Boogio was originally developed for health and rehabilitation purposes, helping patients learning to walk again and determine pressure points and weak areas in the feet and legs while walking or running. The data collected from the Boogio could help therapists determine a better treatment plan or exercise regimen that focuses more on efficient movement and placement. This same use could help athletes prevent stress fractures and other repetitive motion injuries during marathons or other sports.

Overall, I'm amazed at the versatility of the Boogio and where we may see it in the next few years! While Boogio is still getting off the ground, so to speak, it is available for preorder. It's programmable architecture also means that it can interface with numerous devices in very interesting ways. More than just for gaming, Boogio is one of those rare devices that could make a lot of people's lives easier.