CES Day 0 – The Exer-Station

Last year at CES, Powergrid Fitness introduced a couple of devices which replaced the typical game controller for a console like the PS2 or Xbox with a workout intensive resistance device. I was sore the next day after only about a 10 minute work out on one of these on the show floor at the time.

Problem with those devices was that they were large and expensive. You’d need a small room set aside just to use the exercise device in. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with that concern, as the company has now developed a much smaller, portable version of the exercise machine, and will be selling it in select Best Buy stores starting in March 2006. The new device is called the Exer-Station and will retail for just under $200.


The ExerStation

The ExerStation works by converting pressure on the center vertical rod into joystick data. The responsiveness of the ExerStation can be adjusted to require almost no pressure to get movement in a video game, to excessive pressure for a real workout. The harder the user pushes, pulls, and leans the controller rod, the greater the movement on screen (since it translates to a greater angle on the “joystick”. All the various controller buttons found on a typical game controller are integrated into the handle.

At CES Unveiled, where the ExerStation was shown, they were using Blood Wake on the Xbox as their demonstration platform (Blood Wake was widely panned, but I enjoyed playing it when it first came out), and it was a good fit.

Powergrid Fitness claimes that the ExerStation can increase a person’s metabolic rate five times that of resting leel, and can burn 350 calories an hour. The device is (or will be) compatible with the PS2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC. Xbox 360 support is being investigated.

The ExerStation is 2 feet tall, but rather compact, and very easy to set up from what I saw. But in my use I found that it was a bit cramped (no doubt the result of my being 6’ 3” tall – not exactly average or petite). Likewise, I found the controller too close to my body – I would have liked some adjustability in the ExerStation. Also, the based platform the rod is mounted on had sharp corners – a sure way to leave permanent dents in one’s thighs (or worse). However, I was assured that this was still a prototype and that greater ergonomics would be in the final shipping product.

Seeing as I am a video game junk and an exercise slug (I think slugs actually exercise more), the idea behind the ExerStation certainly appeals to me.

In the hopes that this could be my exercise panacea, I’ll add the ExerStation to my wish list as well, and once I get once, I’ll post a more in depth review. I’m already thinking of the great response to my wife complaining about my spending too much time playing video games – “But honey! I’m exercising! You want me to be healthy, right?”


Eliane Fiolet of übergizmo takes the ExerStation for a spin

 

One Response to “CES Day 0 – The Exer-Station”

  1. Gamer says:

    This is awesome I’m into hardcore <A HREF=”http://www.characterplanet.com”>gaming</A> and this event looked like such a great time.