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Video Games and Fitness: The Future of Workouts?

Black Friday is right around the corner and for all those out there with kids or teenagers, shopping started long ago. Though it was long started as a way for retailers to sell dated inventory in anticipation and to clear shelf space for newer items to be sold during the Christmas shopping season, Black Friday is now a global holiday where the bulk of our shopping is done. One of the hottest items this season are the Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles and THE game to have this season: Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. It is popular for many reasons because it binds fiction with reality. Don’t laugh, but there is a lot we can learn from video games that we adults should take notice.

As you know, much of what we have in terms of technology borrows largely from movies such as Star Trek and Star Wars. Without the fantasy fiction, our inventors and engineers are void with inspiration to create. The Call of Duty franchise bridges the divide by exploring the capabilities of the exoskeleton with its application in warfare.

The exoskeleton suit is something we borrow partly from nature and what we understand about robotics. We see the exoskeleton mostly in the world of entomology – bugs and insects structure come from the hard shell they have (the ones that crunch when you squish them). Its strength and rigidity is quite fascinating, because the human skeleton and bones are not nearly as strong, when you compare them in proportion to its tensile strength and the amount of force needed to crack it. But how does one apply those benefits to the human body?

The blending of robotics and the exoskeleton is a reality, but black ops 3 demonstrates to us it’s potential. In order for us to carry more weight or jump higher, we perform body and muscle strengthening workouts, such as plyometrics exercises. Although it is questionable whether or not we should blend robotics with the human flesh, the current exoskeleton suits support the human body in movement. In other words, we can wear a body brace that is powered that allows us to do things more efficiently. But what good is it if we can allow humans to carry a few extra pounds when we can utilize a forklift?

exoskeleton used in black ops 3 that allows us to jump higher and run faster
image from lockheedmartin.com

There is a lot of research and development into making exoskeleton suits for soldiers that will allow the warriors the capabilities to carry more weight and equipment on their backs, and minimize fatigue. So if a solider needs to run a mile with gear on his back, she will be ready to fight once she reaches the destination. What can potentially happen is what you see in the video games: soldiers being able to jump to reach a second story window or maneuver their way out of danger. What you see in the Call of Duty games or Battlefield games are the potential capabilities and futuristic warfare that is a possibility.

However, we should be wary and not pin our hopes of superiority through modernity. We’ve seen this time and time again where the most advanced weapons does not necessarily result in victory. Though it is pretty darn cool to think we might be able to parkour our way through town with the aid of an exoskeleton, practical application and just physical limitations are a few things that might make everything just a fantasy. Nonetheless, it’s cool just to see how far we have advanced in terms of technology being able to create things man dreamed of centuries ago. After all, the idea of a suit to aid man in every day endeavors was famously conceptualized by Michelangelo.

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