Skip to main content

Forget joysticks — the Guts Game is controlled by a sensor that you swallow

The Guts Game: Designing Playful Experiences for Ingestible Devices

Unless it’s the junk food and endless energy drinks you down while playing a marathon session of Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s not all that often that video games can be said to play havoc with your guts. But that could be about to change — and in a good way, too. In Australia, researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have created the “Guts Game,” a swallowable biosensor which offers an unusual new spin on the concept of gamification.

“There are already many ingestible sensors that can measure the user’s body temperature, pH value, pressure, or serve as endoscopy [tools] on the market,” Zhuying Li, a Ph.D. candidate at RMIT University, told Digital Trends. “We can see these devices might become more and more common in the medical field. However, some people might feel uncomfortable to ingest a foreign object. We believe games [based] around sensors can motivate patients to use the sensor and enhance the overall experience of the treatment. Our game shows an opportunity to make pill-taking interesting.”

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Guts Game takes the form of a two-player endeavor in which both players start by swallowing a CorTemp sensor. This tiny wireless sensor is designed to transmit information about the swallower’s core body temperature as it travels through their digestive tract. Both players must complete game tasks by changing the body temperature measured by an ingestible sensor. The goal is to get rid of a virtual parasite within 24 to 36 hours. To do this, they can perform real actions like drinking hot or cold drinks, eating spicy food to cause them to sweat, exercising hard, and more. The game ends when the sensor is excreted. The winner is the player who racks up the most points during that time. Think of it like a swallowable, bio-sensing version of the game “Simon says.”

“We have done a user study with 14 participants,” Li continued. “The results showed that people liked the Guts Game overall. Players appreciated the feeling of freedom given by the sensor: The players could not feel the presence of the sensor physically after swallowing. Also, the players appreciated their body being the game interface … rather than just using their fingers to tap the screen or keyboard.”

The researchers think that such a gamification experience could one day be used to ensure that people adhere to a course of treatment by transforming it into a more enjoyable, relatable experience. Making people aware of just what is going on inside their bodies, and how this is influenced by external factors, could also help drive more awareness around health issues.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
You can now buy a prebuilt Razer gaming desktop, courtesy of Maingear
MAINGEAR R1 | RAZER EDITION

Razer just announced the release of the new Maingear R1 Razer Edition desktop computer. Designed for gaming, the PC is going to be available in four prebuilt configurations, as well as a customizable model that lets the user choose their own specs. Fully decked out with the latest components, these PCs contain many sought-after pieces of hardware such as the latest Nvidia RTX 30-Series graphics cards.

This line of computers is a collaboration between Razer and Maingear, a popular PC-building brand. Built to serve the needs of gamers, it has a set of specs that can easily handle most of the current games on ultra settings.

Read more
This diorama is the meta gaming PC of my dreams — and you can win it
Gaming PC that looks like an office.

You've seen this setup before. A TV mounted on the wall with mock Joy-Cons on the sides, triple monitors next to a hefty battle station, and enough Nanoleaf triangles for an official "content creator" badge. Now imagine if you could take that iconic gaming room of all of our dreams, shrink it down, and stick a gaming PC inside. That's exactly what Suchao Modding & Design did.

As part of Intel Gamer Days, the Thailand-based outfit stuffed a high-spec gaming PC into a diorama of a gaming battle station. The room comes fit with triple monitors --  set atop an RTX 3060 Ti desk -- a mock PlayStation 5, a Pac-Man arcade cabinet, and a water-cooling reservoir disguised as a fish tank. Plus, of course, enough RGB to make a pony puke.

Read more
First Alder Lake gaming benchmarks leak — here’s why you shouldn’t believe them
Render of Intel Alder Lake chip.

We've seen a handful of leaked Intel Alder Lake benchmarks over the past several weeks, but a slew of more recent leaks give us the first look at the upcoming generation's gaming performance. Multiple new entries in the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark database provide a taste of Alder Lake gaming performance -- and true to previous leaks, the results beat AMD's best.

There's a lot more to the story than that, though. Twitter user @9550pro shared the main screenshot making the rounds (below), which shows results with the most recent hardware (you can find the same list now on the leaderboard). The results for the Alder Lake processors showcase the i9-12900K paired up with an Nvidia RTX 3080. The leaderboard also has results using the Ryzen 9 5950X, but only paired with the aging RX 5700 XT.

Read more