The longer a player holds onto a token, the more points he or she gains. Conversely, a chaser starts with points that are deducted incrementally until five minutes are up or the chaser succeeds in getting the token, whatever comes first. Touching conductive fabric patches causes the computer to send a signal to the Lumalive, updating the display with a final score.
The Human Media Lab is one of the few universities in the world to have Lumalive displays, which Vertegaal says each cost more than $7,000. The whole game system costs around $20,000.
"As they get into the $100 price range, everybody will be wearing them," Vertegaal said. He and his colleagues are presenting TagURIt at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems this week in Vancouver.
Saul Greenberg is a computer science professor at the University of Calgary who specializes in proxemics, which is the study of measurable distances between people during different types of interactions.
TagURIt goes well beyond games and offers a new way to think about interaction design, he said. "We can start asking the question: Can we get technology to mediate itself by its understanding of the people around it, in this case using wearables?"