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New iPhone game uses your heartbeat as the controller


Your heartbeat just got gamified.

A Dutch startup released a new iPhone game Thursday that relies on users' heartbeats to control the gameplay.

Skip a Beat takes advantage of the iPhone's flash to detect users' heart rates — much like the app Cardiio or the sensor built into the Galaxy S5. Before each level, users hold their finger over the iPhone's camera and flash and the app is able to detect your pulse (and thus your heart rate) by analyzing how the light passes through your skin.

The game is an endless runner in which players guide Skip the frog — on a mission to rescue the princess Euphoria — through the air by tapping on the screen while avoiding birds and other obstacles and racking up points. The challenge lies in keeping your heart rate within the target range for that level. The higher the target, the faster Skip's pace will be and players who are able to successfully keep their heart rate within the target range score more points.

"The main goal is to make you aware of your heart rate," says Yosef Harb CEO and founder of Happitech, the company behind Skip a Beat. "What happens when you have too much coffee, bad sleep, a very good breakfast. It's a combination of awareness meets quantified self."

An in-app dashboard tracks your heart rate over time as you play through each level. The hope, says Harb, is that users will become aware of their heart rate and learn to control it, even when they're not playing the game. He also notes the game could also potentially help people who have heart conditions by giving them a more fun and less intimidating way to monitor their heart rate throughout the day.

Happitech plans to eventually make the app HealthKit compatible and say they are also looking into creating an Apple Watch-compatible app as well.

The $1.99 app is available in the App Store. The company doesn't have plans for an Android app right now but didn't rule it out for the future.