Cambodian children grow up in a nation where millions of landmines left by decades of civil war have continued to cripple and kill hundreds of people each year. Now they could get a life-saving lesson from a video game developed by Michigan State University researchers.
In the game, players navigate photos of Cambodian jungle landscapes in search of photos for several adorable cartoon pets -- no cartoon landmine characters here. The point of the maze-like game is to train players and embed warning signals about landmines in their minds.
Yes: this is, in fact, the largest video-game peripheral you've ever seen. The VirtuSphere is a new interface that captures movements in 360 degrees, and translates them into a video game. The gang over at Joystiq first caught wind of the human hamster ball in '06, but got to see it in the flesh just this week.
Say the word "toy" to a techie, and his mind will think one thing: robots. But all infrared-loving, artificially-intelligent smart-toy-ogling tech-savvy aside, new toys can instill as much "ooh! shiny!" as even the hottest cellphone. And we're not just talking about robots: This week, the International Toy Fair hit NYC, and PopSci.com found 20 funky new toys with a few tricks up their sleeves.
PopSci talks to the designer behind the game's dynamic AI and sandbox galaxies
By John Scott LewinskiPosted 01.29.2010 at 12:01 pm 10 Comments
Mass Effect 2
Bioware's Mass Effect 2 is amongst the handful of video games that generate the same buzz for hardcore players as a major feature film would for genre fans. As it rolls into stores around the world this week, the sequel to the popular blend of action shooter and role-playing game packs new features expanding the capabilities of the title, the genre and the game industry.
Sifteo, makers of Siftables, the ingenious cookie-sized computer blocks that play together in infinitely interesting ways, has today officially gone from MIT Media Lab research project to actual company. They're now open for business, but you'll have to wait a bit longer to actually get your hands on some. Nonetheless, we're excited.
Deep in Microsoft's lairs, the Xbox 360 team is working on more than just a new video-game system. They're actually trying to solve an incredibly difficult problem in artificial intelligence. Their prototype Project Natal lets you control a game just with your body movements—no buttons or Wii-like wands—by watching you with a 3-D video camera. Sounds simple enough, but most cameras just snap images without having any idea what they're looking at. To make Natal work, Microsoft has to teach its camera to understand what it sees.
Here at CES, Microsoft announced last night that Natal will go on sale "by the holidays." Before the show, we were given an exclusive look at the smarts that make Natal tick.
Imagine playing a frantic session of the video game Modern Warfare 2 in the virtual ruins of suburban USA, and suddenly seeing a scrolling message that announces a real manmade or natural disaster appear on the TV. Such a meta-experience may soon arrive via your Xbox, PlayStation or Wii, because New York State officials have begun testing a plan for emergency alert broadcasts over online gaming networks.
Citizen scientists and bored netizens can now help NASA map out the Martian surface for future astronaut explorers. Even kids can enjoy the thrills of Mars cartography -- namely counting craters and aligning higher-resolution images on top of a low-res map.
The U.S. space agency teamed up with Microsoft to create the online games at a newly launched website. Players can rack up reputation points for a robotic animal avatar by placing three images at a time on a Martian map, starting with the Valles Marineris canyon.
People who hate creepy kids and Halloween aren't out of the woods yet. A new Wii-exclusive Baby and Me arrives just in time for the holiday season, so that every Nintendo-loving household can stick a wiimote in an anatomically correct doll's back to rock it lovingly via accelerometer and hear its gurgles, giggles and wails through a tinny Wiimote speaker.
Starting next month, British citizens will be given the chance to watch a number of the country's closed-circuit security cameras in hopes of catching a crime and winning up to £1,000 as a reward. The "game," run by the website InternetEyes.co.uk, lets participants log in online, alerting officials in real time via SMS and/or email.