Read: Designer Catchups: Florian Mueller

Date: August 4, 2015

Author: Dermot McGuire

With CUSP about to come a close on 15 August at QVMAG, we’ve set out to discover what our 12 designers have been investigating, creating, and experimenting with since CUSP first launched back in 2013.

Last but not least, we caught up with our final designer Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller to get the low-down on the latest in the future of gaming

An interaction designer and researcher currently directing the Exertion Games Lab at RMIT University in Melbourne, Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller is an expert in digital games that require intense physical effort, otherwise known as exertion games.

Florian’s research spans interaction design and human-computer interaction, and he has worked with teams designing the Xbox Kinect. Florian has a real passion for facilitating change for health and obesity issues and believes exertion games are, and will continue to be, one way to do just that.

For CUSP, Florian created Hanging off a Bar an exertion game in which players were challenged to hang off a bar projected above a simulation of a wild river for as long as they could. What seemed easy was actually pretty tough- a typical round only lasted a mere 30-50 seconds!

Here’s Florian talking to us about this fun project.

In addition to Hanging off a Bar, Florian was a part of our Talks in Transit series that took place on Sydney Trains travelling to the Casula Powerhouse Museum.

In collaboration with Chad Toprak, Florian installed the Cart-Load-O-Fun game. The game encourages interaction and cooperation, and is a part of research that explores the ways in which digital games that incorporate both the commuter’s body and the social setting can enhance the experience of unconventional play spaces.

The game was a hit! You can read more about it here.

Also a hit? Florian’s latest project SweetHearts. It’s the rare person who loves exercise; most of us would rather forgo it for tasty treats and an arvo on the couch.

SweetHearts address the treat part. Hooked up to a heart monitor, participants start exercising and as their heart rate increases, a 3D printer works to print chocolate as a reward. Say what now? You’re literally making chocolate as you exercise. Sign us up! Read more about this innovative scheme here.

Here’s an interesting read about interactive sports-training games. Florian and other researchers designed an engaging training experience called Football Lab – a public interactive soccer-training system aimed to be (way) more fun that just a normal training session.

Just recently, Floyd attended the 7th International Open Ubiquitous City Seminar in Oulu, Finland. There he spoke about designing games for the body.

It’s a great presentation in which you can learn all about Floyd’s work and the ways in which exertion games can help our society.

Finally, check out the Exertion Games Lab website to get a taste of the research that is going into Florian’s work and the field of exertion gaming. The way technology is head, it may very well be the exercise of the future.



Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller is designing a future of play. As Director of the Exertion Games Lab at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Mueller and his team design interactive experiences that combine play, gaming and sports thinking.

“We do this because we believe playing and gaming is a fundamental part of what makes us human, and an understanding of this brings us closer to our vision of a better world filled with interactive technologies that support human values.”

Mueller creates exertion games, designed to support physical health and well being, as well as nurture social connectedness and team building. Most importantly, they are also designed to be fun. Mainstream exertion games such as Nintendo Wii illustrate present-day thinking for how technology can engage us physically. The exertion games in development at Mueller’s lab move beyond current knowledge, exploring new possibilities for how technology can elicit physical and social outcomes for players.