While everyone is busy thinking the future of video-game interfacing is Microsoft's Project Natal, UK-based Cambridge Consultants decided to change the way controllers interact with our hands. The Suma is a pliable, 3-D controller that senses how and where your hand moves.
Ever wish your life was a video game, and you could shoot obstacles out of your way on a crowded sidewalk (or, hem, trade show floor)? This week at CES, Parrot unveiled a device that does just that. The new AR Drone is a helicopter-style flying robot that sees everyday objects and re-images them on a iPhone or iPod touch as virtual enemies or obstacles.
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.
An 11-year-old boy taps furiously on a laptop, blasting enemies as he weaves through a maze. They wipe him out before he can reach the end—game over. Frustrated, he opens the game’s programming window, adjusts the gravity setting, and this time bounds over the baddies. Victory!
Wii wand not cutting it for you anymore? A group of game designers at the National University of Singapore have developed a next-gen immersive gaming system that blends virtual reality and augmented reality with the physical environment. Wearing head-mounted displays and using other peripherals, players use the open space around them to move, jump, crouch and aim within a game, collecting virtual objects and fighting opponents real and virtual along the way.
Robots, alcohol and video games make one tantalizing combination to put on distant-future Christmas lists. Now geek boozers are in luck: the one-man Nonpolynomial Labs has developed interactive versions of Mario and Tetris that incorporate a robotic bartender to mix up drinks during real-time play.
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.
In this video, a mouse runs through a virtual maze derived from a Quake 2 level, by steering a trackball suspended on a jet of air. Obviously the Princeton scientists did this because it's awesome, but the ostensible reason is because it gives them unprecedented access to study the neurological activity of the rodent while it moves around.
When Nintendo debuted its DSi game console earlier this year, it closed the loopholes hackers had used to run homebrew applications—unofficial software distributed freely on the Internet—on its predecessor, the DS Lite. But hackers soon found holes in the DSi’s software too, and now DSi-compatible “flash carts,” specially modified cartridges that allow you to run custom code, are coming to market.
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.