Author Archives: Kiel Gilleade

About Kiel Gilleade

I'm a computer scientist with a background in the development of physiological interactive systems. I have worked on a range of physiological interactive systems, including computer games, interactive artworks and life tracking. My research interests focus on the development and evaluation of physiologically interactive technologies. I currently based in Antibes, France.

Signing off

Hi everyone,

Over the years we’ve covered a lot of interesting topics over here at including the problems inherent in commercial EEG sensors [1, 2, 3], the use of biofeedback in the videogame industry [1, 2, 3. 4], the creation and development of Body Blogging [1, 2] and issues in designing physiological  computing systems [1, 2, 3], to name but a few. We’ve also taken sensors out in the field and done impromptu experiments [1, 2], done a couple of interviews  [1, 2] including one with Dr Alan Pope, as well run a successful CHI workshop through the website and even produced a book which we released last year!

It is with a heavy heart though that we are announcing the closure of the website. As you’ve probably noticed we’ve not posted very much over the past year. We started this website in 2009, around the time I moved to Liverpool and began working for Steve at Liverpool John Moores University. We created the website so we could have a place to discuss our ideas about Physiological Computing in a more informal setting and share our interest with fellow researchers and the general public at large. Being in the same department was a great motivator for us to publish content regularly, especially in the early years. Sadly my time at John Moores came to an end and we are now working on different projects which has made it difficult to maintain the needed momentum to publish regularly and as a result we’ve decided to call it a day and close the website.

We are immensely proud of what we have achieved here on and are remiss to let it go but we both feel its time to move on to other projects. Fortunately the website will remain online and we hope you will check out our archives and enjoy reading our musings from over the years.

You can still find us musing to ourselves on our respective websites:

As well as find us on Twitter:

We wish to thank our readers and everyone else who has contributed to the website, including Jen, Ute, Alex and Lenart.

We hope to see you again soon, signing off,

– Kiel & Steve


Non-wearables for health announced by Nintendo

Nintendo recently announced their going to focus on health applications using non-wearable devices in the near future. Sadly this is all they were willing to say at this point in time and so it’s pretty much anyone’s guess what their actually working on. While Nintendo has developed successful exergames with the likes of the Wii-Fit their entry into more physiologically driven gaming for health applications never really got off the drawing board. As such I’d hazard a guess that their working on a camera based heart monitor similar to the one supported by the new Xbox Kinect for use in the Wii-Fit U.


Call for Papers – Physiological Computing for Intelligent Adaptation: A Special Issue of Interacting with Computers

Special Issue Editors

  • Hugo Gamboa (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal)
  • Hugo Plácido da Silva (IT – Institute of Telecommunications, Portugal)
  • Kiel Gilleade (Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom)
  • Sergi Bermúdez i Badia (Universidade da Madeira, Portugal)
  • Stephen Fairclough (Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom)


Deadline for Submissions:  30 June 2014

Physiological data provides a wealth of information about the behavioural state of the user. These data can provide important contextual information by allowing the system to draw inferences with respect to the affective, cognitive and physical state of a person. In a computerised system this information can be used as an input control to drive system adaptation. For example, a videogame can use psychophysiological inferences of the player’s level of mental workload during play to adjust game difficulty in real-time.

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“Love is Over” – Gaming a Love Tester

Following on from my earlier adventure with the stress tester, sat right next door was a love tester, presumably developed by the same company given it was using the same chassis as the stress tester*. The love tester is probably one of the most familiar, and oldest, commercial biofeedback games around. Its function is to assess the sexual magnetism of the player using a comically named rating scale e.g. “Cold and Clammy” for no magnetism, “Out of Control” for lots. A love tester is basically a gag device which uses physiological input to provide some authenticity to the assessment. Their a common prop in media where making fun of the sexual prowess of a character is needed (e.g. The Simpsons); you can often find a love tester in a bar or the funfair if you want to try one out,
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Sweaty palms? Quick seek medical attention!

On my way to work this week I spotted an old coin-operated stress tester. I haven’t seen one of these devices in a while. They use to be a common sight at shopping arcades, typically sat next to a weighing scale machine, I suppose offering an impromptu medical check-up while your out and about. Hopefully nobody took this thing seriously as it’s a complete sham!
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Playing Dark Escape 4D

Dark Escape 4D at Mr T's, Blackpool

Dark Escape 4D at Mr T’s, Blackpool

Holidays and arcades are one of my traditions. Come every holiday I hole up in the nearest arcade and play games until my fingers go numb, usually from the re-coil of the light-gun games. Sadly, in my experience, arcade culture in the UK has diminished significantly as the novelty and variety of yesteryear is simply not there any more. Most arcades tend to host a mixture of dated racing and light-gun games (I’m looking at you Time Crisis), which, while were fun at the time have lost their charm. During my recent holiday, much to my surprise, I came across a brand new arcade game which really piqued my interest: Dark Escape 4D by Namco.

And why did this game catch my attention so, well because it was a biofeedback game, a biofeedback game at the ARCADE!

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Working with Sensors: Transparency versus Quality Assurance

Building a rudimentary galvanic skin response sensor

Building a rudimentary galvanic skin response sensor

Recently I’ve been developing mechanics for a range of biofeedback projects, one of which was featured, over the summer, in an art exhibit at FACT Liverpool. These projects have been developed with the general public in mind, and so I’ve been working with consumer electronics rather than the research grade devices I normally use.

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A mixed time for relaxing

Following on from yesterday’s post, I quickly checked up on Innergy, Ubisoft’s entry into the biofeedback market. Announced a year after the Vitality in 2010, the game seems to of quietly disappeared off Ubisoft’s website. The most recent news report in 2012 indicated work was still on-going on the project, but no release schedule had been announced. Given the lack of PR noise this late in the year and the missing listings on Ubisoft’s webpage I don’t expect we’ll see a 2013 release or one in the future. This would be rather disappointing, although the revealed gameplay was very traditional for a a biofeedback regime, the production values where first rate e.g. art work by Rolito (see Patapon on the Sony PSP) of and which is sorely lacking in many biofeedback programs.
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Wii Vitality still beats for no one


It looks like Nintendo have put the Vitality sensor on an indefinite hold. In answer to a question at a recent shareholder meeting, Nintendo explained that while player physiology opened interesting avenues for play the mechanics they tried didn’t work for everybody, that being 10% of the players they tested. As I posted back in 2011, when Nintendo first raised this issue, the bar Nintendo had set for the percentage of players who could successfully control their physiology was simply too high at 99%.

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