Peter Höglund
Interaction Designer
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Mitos - Mixed media game

Breathing as a game controller

As interaction designers and not typical game designers the focus in this project was more on user experience than traditional game mechanics and we are experimenting with how you can use your body in a more than obvious way to change a gaming experience. After looking at different body functions, like hart rate, temperature shifts etc, we settled for breathing. By inhaling and exhaling the goal is to navigate an organic structure upwards on a screen. The concept consists of our breathing sensor and the Mitos game which is in the borderline of audio/visual experience and game play.

During the concept phase the hope was to create an almost meditative experience. By breathing slowly and with control you would finish the game. However the game had the opposite effect. The players struggles with the breathing to control the game. When not thinking about your breathing, breathing is easy. But we realized that when you need to think about it and controlling it, it suddenly becomes hard and strenuous. We set out to explore new gaming experiences and we think that Mitos not only does that, but also makes you experience your body in a new way.


Breathing as a game controller


Brief: Mixed media game

Approach: Explore game experience

Solution: Control a game experience through breathing

Tech: Arduino, Processing, self made stretch sensor

Initial idea generation led to thoughts of controlling a organic life form with your breathing. You would get the feeling you where connected to the entety.

Low fi paper mock ups where made to try the game mechanics.

We tried different techniques to detect breathing but the strechsensor worked best for the purpose. A sensor was knitted and connected to Arduino.

The final prototype of the stretchsensor.

During usertests we found out that breathing is not easy when you need to think obout your breathing and control it. Something we took advantage of in the final game.

The final rendering of the game. By inhaling and exhaling the player creates new cell-like blobs to grow upwards. When holding the breath “arms” shoot out and collects fireflies.