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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Microsoft has unveiled for the first time to the public their “Project Natal.” This is the code name for a revolutionary new way to play with no controller required. See a ball? Kick it, hit it, trap it or catch it. If you know how to move your hands, shake your hips or speak, you and your friends can jump into the fun. The only experience needed is life experience.

Compatible with any Xbox 360 system, the “Project Natal” sensor is the world’s first to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device. Unlike 2-D cameras and controllers, “Project Natal” tracks your full body movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of emotion in your voice.

In addition, unlike other devices, the “Project Natal” sensor is not light-dependent. It can recognize you just by looking at your face, and it doesn’t just react to key words but understands what you’re saying. Call a play in a football game, and players will actually respond. Want to log onto Xbox LIVE? Simply step in front of the sensor.

Lionhead Studios have created an interactive demo using a character called Milo.

“The next step in interactive entertainment is to make the controller disappear,” said Steven Spielberg, visionary director and producer. “With ‘Project Natal,’ we’ll see games that bring everyone together through technology that actually recognizes us.”

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Among the biggest time savers for living in a virtual worlds are that there is no need to wash your clothes nor attend to personal hygiene. In fact, having a bathroom in your virtual home is merely an affectation.

However, researchers at the University of Birmingham in England are among the pioneers seeking to add that little extra to our virtual experience.

Yes, pretty soon you’ll be able to check whether your armpits are clean, your partner has washed, and what exactly people have been smoking on that heaving, throbbing dance floor.

According to Rob Crossley of Develop magazine, “…the team are currently testing the smell-technology on a variety of self-made PC games based on the Half Life and Far Cry SDKs.

“(the) group have obtained numerous pots of paraffin wax that are laced with a variety of aromas. Combined, they are said to capture the smell of a wide range of locations and situations, from the cordite residue of gunfire to the burnt rubber rising from a racetrack.

“These pots of wax are placed into a boxed fan, which is fitted to a PC and throws a scent under the player’s nose when triggered by an in-game event.”

In other words, you get to smell the cordite, the napalm, and the cordite. Yum.

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