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PHOTOS: New 'Blood Sport' video game controller draws blood

A new joystick device brigs a new meaning to ‘Mortal Kombat’.

Blood sports are always a contentious issue and a new computer gaming system is no different. The device called Blood Sport works like a PlayStation rumble pack but the key difference is that when a virtual character is hit the real-life player has blood drawn from the veins into a sterilized donation pack. The Arduino microprocessor-controlled device, developed by Canadian inventor Taran Chadha, is supposed to make blood donation fun but for now, the project has been suspended on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. The 32-year-old tells Metro, “I want to get the gamer community to donate blood, because they are usually an apathetic demography.”

Metro: How did you come up with the idea?
Chatha: It started as a joke between us a long time ago, but when we heard about the blood shortage in Canada, we decided maybe it was time to bring it back. It really only got going when we figured out how easy it would be to take the electrical signal from the controller and use it to do whatever we wanted.
How much blood does one hit in video game “Mortal Kombat” take?
It’s actually adjustable. At the moment we pull a total of 300 ml, which is less than a pint of blood. We divided that into ten hits at 30 ml each. But realistically, we could set it to 400 ml at the actual blood clinics.
Do people really enjoy playing with it?
We’ve only run a few tests, and it’s all been attached to only one player, which really isn’t fair. There’s always a little hesitation, and people say they get more into the game because the stakes are so high every time they get hit. We definitely think it’ll be more fun when there’s two machines, and it can be competitive.
Can I play with it at home?
No, it can only be played at blood clinics or gaming events with professional medical staff. It’s definitely not safe to play at home alone, unless you’re maybe a doctor, and even then it’s probably not a good idea. It’s like any blood donation machine so you really need to be at the blood bank.
Is it painful to play with the device?
It’s just like giving blood, so if you hate needles, then it’s not that pleasant. But it seems to hurt less because of the excitement of being competitive, and showing up your friends.
What games are the best to play while donating blood?
We’ve only tested it with “Call of Duty”, “Battlefield” and “Mortal Kombat”. Games with control pads that rumble when you’re hit are the easiest for us to program. But “Call of Duty” works well, because you really get into it – that whole first person perspective against others is really exciting.
What are your future plans for Blood Sport?
At the moment we’re on hold since Kickstarter suspended our campaign and we haven’t connected with any blood clinics. But we’re still looking for partners, and considering what to do next.

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