A new trampoline-based gaming system is the latest in natural user interfaces, and it’s one heck of a laugh. Designed to ‘make exercise less intimidating’ and reduce injuries from moving around on a hard floor, the trampoline is placed atop infrared range sensors that detect heel and toe movement. Another sensor in front detects the direction of the players turns. With this information, the game understands how the in-game point of view is to be moved. For example, continuous left-right movement is interpreted as walking forward, while jumping is translated onto the same action on-screen.

The University of Tsubuka research group thats building this trampoline interface says it’s aimed at people who may otherwise not exercise regularly. Along with making exercise more enjoyable, the soft surfaces of the trampoline can reduce joint stress, making it better than the Kinect, in this respect. The system has been under development for a while, but the team behind it is continuing to add more features and hopes to do conduct field tests soon.