Remember the Balance Board? Twelve years ago, Nintendo released a device that looked like a bathroom scale but actually acted as a relatively sensitive controller that responded to subtle shifts in weight in specially designed games. Nintendo sold at least 22 million of the suckers to health-conscious gamers, 99.9% of whom have doubtless put their Balance Boards in the closet or a donation bin by now.
Fast forward to today, and Nintendo is once again teasing a new entry into the fitness game. In a short video tweeted late Thursday, the company showed off a flexible black plastic ring and accompanying leg strap, both of which apparently integrate with Switch Joy-Cons to measure your motion in a number of ways.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 5, 2019
The yet-unnamed ring looks to include two rubberized grips on opposite sides and two connection slots for a Joy-Con. Stretching the ring in one direction flattens a bit in in the other, turning the ring into an oval and seemingly increasing the physical resistance required to stretch further. An accompanying holster straps around the leg and holds another Joy-Con, presumably to measure leg angle and movement speed.
The video shows an international crew of health nuts doing everything from running and dancing in place, to yoga-style positioning, to Thighmaster-style leg squeezes, to Pilates-style leg lifts, to overhead stretches, to imitation hula dancing and weight lifting with the mysterious device. At one point a player exclaims at his character doing a backflip in response to motion from the device.
This new health-focused effort brings to life Nintendo’s previous announcement—now five years old—of a focus on “quality of life” tools designed to “enable people to monitor their health and offer them appropriate propositions.” The only previous example of a real product in that line, a planned Nintendo sleep monitor, was finally scrapped years after it was announced. But Nintendo has shown an interest in getting gamers moving since the 1988 release of the Power Pad for the original NES.
Nintendo’s tweet promises more information about its Switch exercise ring on September 12. For now, enjoy the video and the above gallery showing the next gaming health device that will no doubt end up in gathering dust in your closet in a few years.