Researchers: Guitar Hero Offers Health Benefits

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Leading drum research initiative The Clem Burke Drumming Project has today announced a year-long collaborative research project which will examine the benefits of using Activision Publishing, Inc’s Guitar Hero World Tour’s drum kit controller.

The Clem Burke Drumming Project – a unique collaboration between Blondie drummer Clem Burke, Dr. Marcus Smith from the UK University of Chichester and Dr. Steve Draper from the University of Gloucestershire – is based on the pursuit of knowledge through the application of scientific principles to the various art forms of drumming. With 10 years of research behind it already, The Clem Burke Drumming Project is committed to the dissemination of information leading to increased enjoyment, health and well-being of all participants involved in drumming.

With two raised pads that represent the hi-hat and either the crash or ride cymbals, three pads which correspond to the snare and two toms and a bass-drum kick pedal, the Guitar Hero World Tour drum controller simulates an authentic drum kit.

When playing on the drum kit controller in the game on higher difficultly levels, the Clem Burke Drumming Project believes Guitar Hero World Tour will provide an opportunity to acquire the specific motor skills needed for drumming. The Clem Burke Drumming Project will investigate the transfer of skills and the physiological demands of game play compared to live drumming.

The Clem Burke Drumming Project recently launched its first wave of findings, revealing that gigging professional drummers had a heart rate profile similar to professional football players and expended a significant amount of energy (400-600 kcal per performance). Physiological tests included the measurement of heart rate, oxygen uptake and blood lactate in rehearsal tests and monitoring heart rate and blood lactate during live stage performances.

The Clem Burke Drumming Project team will conduct a series of physiological and neurological tests using the Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit controller, which will be permanently housed in the University of Gloucestershire’s newly-built dedicated drumming laboratory and at the University of Chichester.

One area of research will be to examine the neurological changes in Guitar Hero World Tour drummers, to examine how the brain’s grey and white matters evolve when playing. The Clem Burke Drumming Project will also investigate the health benefits of playing Guitar Hero World Tour, and through collaboration with Prof. Steve Williams and colleagues at the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences (Kings College, London), also examine how using drums and the drum controller may help individuals with existing medical conditions (e.g. dyspraxia, stroke patients etc.).

“We’ve been extremely impressed by the Guitar Hero World Tour drum controller,” said Dr. Marcus Smith, Principal Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, University of Chichester.

“The Clem Burke Drumming Project is all about promoting the benefits of drumming, and we’re convinced those that learn the basics of the instrument with Guitar Hero World Tour can use those skills when progressing to an actual full drum kit. No other gaming controller comes close to simulating the experience of drumming, and we’re confident the game will breed a new generation of real-life drummers. Anecdotally, we believe Guitar Hero World Tour is a perfect introduction to the instrument – and we can’t wait to examine this scientifically and unveil our findings throughout 2009.”

Dr. Steve Draper said: "This is the first facility of its kind in the world and we are extremely excited about the potential here. It is a unique collaboration between science and arts.”

Guitar Hero World Tour is now available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and the PlayStation 2. The game is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.

In : PC

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