Bits & Bytes
AND NOW, THE AEROBIC VIDEO GAME
The software industry is aglow with the so-called "edutainment" market, which blends learning with fun and games on a computer. But are you ready for what could be the next big leap in interactive software? Call it "excertainment."
HeartBeat Corp. in Stamford, Conn., thinks it has a way to stem the rise of a generation of interactive-computer couch potatoes. Its Personal Trainer is a version of the Sega Genesis video-game machine that attaches to any home exercise equipment, such as a stationary bike. As you work out, a sensor measures your heart rate to manipulate the pace of the game program. Overshoot your optimal heart rate by cycling too fast, for instance, and you could find the game moving at an uncontrollable speed. Go too slow, and your on-screen persona will act sluggishly. The $300 unit comes with its own game, involving kangaroos, but Heartbeat plans to create a space "shoot-'em-up" and a hockey game, too.EDITED BY IRA SAGER