Skip the Frog and Princess Frog

Just place your finger on the camera and go.

A frog was told a secret that led him on a quest to rescue a princess: “You can use the power of your heart to fly.”

That might sound like the opening line to a children’s book, but it’s actually the concept behind the Skip A Beat iOS app. The twist: you really do control the app with your heartbeat.

Skip a Beat is not the first app to use the iPhone’s camera and flash to track heart rate. Cardiio and Instant Heart Rate also use similar means of tracking your heartbeat: they measure your pulse based on the light passing through your finger or face. What distinguishes Skip A Beat, from Amsterdam-based Happitech, is that it’s turning your heart rate into a game.

The game follows Skip, a frog, on a quest to save princess Euphoria. The faster your heart is beating, the bigger Skip inflates, making it more difficult to dodge obstacles like flying birds or trees. You can control Skip’s quest by tapping on the screen. 

The trick to the game is to keep your heart rate within a particular range.

“Skip a Beat was created to give people an insight into their body and mind,” Happitech founder Yosef Safi Harb said in a statement.

Each of the four levels has a different heartbeat requirement. “Zen Mode” requires your heart rate to stay between 58 and 70 beats per minute, while the more advanced “Spicy Mode” wants you to keep it between 80 and 100 beats per minute. All the heart-rate levels are within a normal resting range for adults.

The game keeps track of your pulse on a heartbeat dashboard, allowing you to view your play history. The company also provides tips on changing your rhythm—stress, excitement, relaxation, coffee, and exercise can all impact how fast or slow your heart beats.

As more mobile applications offer the ability to keep track of our health and fitness, the key to any app’s success will be how effectively it turns seemingly menial tasks like measuring one’s heart rate into interesting and engaging activities. The more successful these attempts, the more likely people are to want to keep better track of their bodies.

Skip a Beat is available on the App Store for $1.99 and works on the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5s, 6, and 6 Plus, as well as the iPod Touch.

This article has been updated for clarity.

H/T Mashable | Photo by Skip A Beat

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