Guts Game

A smartphone-based gmae that uses ingestible sensors

Ingestible sensors, which refer to digital sensors that can be ingested, have been increasingly used in medical context. This leads us to think about can such devices be used in games? Can we develop a game makes swallowing a digital sensor more playful?

Guts Game is a two-player mobile game using Cortemp sensor to capture players’ core body temperature as the game input. We want to gain an understanding towards ingestible game design and build a theoretical design framework around it by investigating the player experience.


Guts Game is a two-player game in which the players have to achieve tasks that require reaching a certain temperature to gain points. The player who gain more points is the winner.

Once the game starts, the players can choose between 3 tasks with different levels of difficulty, which corresponds to different points (easy: 1 point, medium: 3 points and hard: 5 points). After the task is either accomplished or aborted, a new one can be chosen. All tasks have goals within an achievable temperature spectrum (36°C-38°C). Typical goals are: “37.2°C (easy)”, “36.5°C (medium)” and “38°C (hard)”. The players can do whatever they want to change their body temperature. From our experience, the activities players can do include but not limited to food intake, exercise and having sauna.

In addition to the tasks stated before, there are also two addition modes for player to choose: free mode and challenge mode. They can be chosen upon task selection. In the feeling mode, the flame is not displayed and players need to estimate their temperature. The flame is replaced by two buttons, one to espy the flame height (only available once) and one to say that the player thinks she/he reached the target temperature and therefore completed the task. This will unveil the true temperature, awarding points depending on how close the player’s temperature was to the goal. In the challenge mode, players can challenge each other by proposing their own goals. After one player defines and achieves a goal, the game then automatically challenges the other player to also accomplish this goal.

The game encourages social interaction between players. When one of the players receives or completes a task, the system will automatically send a message to the other one. After a player finishes the task, the system will ask the player to enter what he/she did and his/her experience. The answer will be visible for both players. The players can express their emotion by sharing pictures with each other.


We thank all the members of the Exertion Games Lab at RMIT. We also thank Kyle Berean and Kouroush Kalantar-zadeh from RMIT’s School of Engineering for giving us plenty of advice, and we also thank Patrick Baudisch for support.


Li, Z., Patibanda, R., Brandmueller, F., Wang, W., Berean, K., Greuter, S., Mueller, F. 2018. The Guts Game: Towards Designing Ingestible Games. In Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY '18). ACM, New York, NY, USA.

Li, Z., Brandmueller, F., Greuter, S., Mueller, F. The Guts Game: Designing Playful Experiences for Ingestible Devices. In Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Paper VS12, 1 pages.

Li, Z., Brandmueller, F., Mueller, F., Greuter, S. Ingestible Games: Swallowing a Digital Sensor to Play a Game. In Extended Abstracts Publication of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY '17 Extended Abstracts). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 511-518.

Brandmueller, F., Li, Z. Guts Game: A Game using Ingestible Sensors. In Extended Abstracts Publication of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY '17 Extended Abstracts). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 625-631.

Press Coverage

A computer game’s edible controller lets you play it with your gut. New Scientist.

The Bizarre New Game You Play By Swallowing A Sensor. Forbes.

Forget joysticks — the Guts Game is controlled by a sensor that you swallow. Digital Trends.

An edible controller moves gaming from the screen to your gut. Futurism.

This New Game Has an Edible Controller. Bloomberg.

'Guts Game' makes play using ingestible sensors. Smart2Zero.

Extreme gaming – Guts Game. Global Property Scene.