Box the Bag brings out your inner Rocky, no Kinect required

Jealous of your friends with the Kinect gaming systems? Box the Bag is a new iPad app that makes a clever and sophisticated use of the iPad's camera to achieve a lot of what the Kinect accessory does for Microsoft's Xbox.

In fact, I'm reminded of my trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas a few years ago. A small Israeli firm named Prime Sense was launching their innovative system of infrared and traditional cameras. To demonstrate the gear, they played a homegrown boxing app. Microsoft saw this technology and licensed it, resulting in Kinect.

Ironically, Apple negotiated with Prime Sense but were apparently too difficult to deal with, and Apple's loss was Microsoft's gain. Now, Box the Bag brings a similar experience back to the Apple world.

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By analyzing the front camera feed in real time, Box the Bag detects when and where you 'throw punches' and makes sure you land them where the random target appears.

It's remarkably accurate as long as your room is well lit and your iPad is positioned properly. I love apps that try to expand our notion of what the iPad can do and Box the Bag does that by a mile.

The interface is attractive, in a dingy underground gym sort of way, and the intro music, while not Eye of the Tiger, is inspiring. Box the Bag itself is inspiring, too, as it shows what developers can do when they think creatively. I hope to see more enhancements to the app, and more apps that leverage this kind of technology.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.