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Blood Sport project vows to game on despite Kickstarter suspension

A crowdfunding project developing gaming hardware that draws real blood plans to keep working to turn its prototype into a blood-donation system after Kickstarter suspended its campaign.

This is high-stakes gaming. Blood Sport Gaming

Taran Chadha and his friend Jamie Umpherson had talked for years about intravenously losing blood while playing Mortal Kombat. They combined that concept with the altruistic idea of blood donation to create Blood Sport, a Kickstarter project for hardware that draws real blood from your body when you take damage in a video game. Kickstarter, however, suspended the project several days after launch.

The unusual nature of the crowdfunding project drew attention. The project's video showed a prototype in action, made in part from a rumbling gaming controller that signals when an in-game character takes damage, which in turn triggers a blood draw. Blood Sport wanted to build a two-player system and create a gaming experience that would add a new sporting dimension to blood drives.

"We genuinely want to bring attention to and help blood donation in Canada with our project if we can," Blood Sport co-founder Taran Chadha told CNET.

When contacted by CNET, Kickstarter declined to comment on why Blood Sport was suspended, citing a policy to not discuss suspensions. Chadha says he has contacted Kickstarter seeking an explanation. "Our guesses are that perhaps it has to do with our tie-in to medical equipment or charity, or safety concerns since we're not officially partnered with a blood clinic yet (but we're working on that)," he says.

Chadha says Blood Sport is meeting this week with representatives of blood-donation organizations to discuss partnerships. He would like to "motivate the gaming demographic into getting involved in donation through our project."

Funding support wasn't exactly flooding in to Blood Sport's project prior to the suspension. Kickstarter closed up the campaign when it had reached only around $3,000 toward a $222,000 goal. If Blood Sport is able to pull off a partnership with a blood-donation organization, it might have a shot at becoming reality. Or it may be more likely that the odd mixture of adrenaline-pumping gaming action and blood donation will remain in the realm of a one-off prototype.