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Technology

Gates tries out anti-couch potato game

By Marsha Walton
CNN

Brian Pyon of Bestsoft
Brian Pyon of Bestsoft shows how the Action Stick's sensors physically put players into the game.

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) -- Where else could one find a video game that may coax couch potato kids into shape and watches that monitor the state of the world?

While the technology showcase Comdex is billed this year as leaner and more business focused, it didn't stop thousands of tech enthusiasts from scrutinizing a range of new gadgets.

Many sedentary computer-types had a chance to work up a sweat at a booth featuring the "Action Stick."

This adjustable, tripod-looking stick contains 18 infrared sensors that replace the joystick in a video game. Instead of just the thumbs and palms getting a workout, kicks and punches control the action of the on-screen character.

The more the effort, the more entertaining the action, said Brian Pyon of the South Korean gaming company Bestsoft.

"We did a study that showed playing with this for a half hour was better than swimming or jogging," said Pyon.

The device goes on sale in December for $100, and is compatible with PC, PlayStation and X-Box games.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates even threw a few punches using the Action

Stick, as he made a low-key tour of the Comdex (Computer Dealer Expo) show floor Monday afternoon.

Comdex veteran and 18 year board member Tim Bajarin has scouted thousands of phones, pagers and PDAs. This year he adds watches to the small packages that deliver a major technological punch.

"Xonix has a watch that looks like a regular watch, but is able to store 256 megabites of information that can be downloaded from a computer," said Bajarin.

That translates to 1,000 phone numbers, 500 e-mail addresses and 50 scheduled appointments from your desk to your wrist.

Bajarin is one of few sporting a prototype SPOT watch. SPOT is "smart personal object technology."

Using an FM signal, the watch constantly receives customized information, including sports, weather and instant messages. The company Fossil plans to make the watch available in a few months.


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