Friday, January 8, 2010

Dance (Body Beats) at at Distance & Project Natal

The uber-connected and original Floyd Mueller) has done it again.  After going to China to work on some developments with Microsoft's ( perhaps Project Natal), we find this video of Dance at a Distance, which to me should be named "Body Beats at a Distance".  

From this workshop, it appears they mapped EMG of player 1 to a matched player 2's EMG so that the electrical signals are transferred from  player to player.  This is more reminiscent of my fathers TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) acupuncture machines than dancing - but call me crazy.
This is a super-early prototype of an Exertion Game that came out of a workshop on Designing Exertion Games. The idea participants came up with was that distributed players can see each other over a videoconference, and, according to music, have to slap-dance to it in sync: to facilitate synchronicity, players get an electric muscle stimulation on the same body limb where the other player is hitting his/her body. This video shows a 1-way interaction how the technology could look like: a hit on one body sends an electronic shock to the other body.

Here's are some really innovative final concepts developed by Flo's students in his Exertion Games lecture last fall. Perhaps we will see one of these games developed in the near future.

Besides ITV, 3D TV, and e-readers, news of Project Natal has been spreading all week at CES 2010 and its  "scheduled" 2010 Holiday release:

Some of the news is good

A few details about Project Natal's technical capabilities slipped out alongside the holiday 2010 release window at Microsoft's CES press conference. The most revealing of these specifics is that the hardware will only siphon 10 to 15 percent of the 360's CPU power, according to a statementfrom Natal lead developer Alex Kipman. "Natal has to work on the existing hardware without taking too much hardware processing away from the games developers," Kipman added.

However, according to a report obtained by GamesIndustry, the processing power could have been further reduced. The original build for Natal included a chip that processed the "bone system," assumed responsible for creating a skeleton of the player in front of the device's glossy eye. However, in an attempt to lower costs, the chip was removed from the device's final build, putting that processing onus on the software that will utilize Natal.

In other words, it's extremely unlikely that any software will be able to have Natal support patched into it -- a fact that Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter says could help "serve to focus developers on Natal-specific concepts as opposed to revisiting old classics."[Via Joystiq

...and some of the news is not being so well-received...

If it is going to revolutionize how we interact with media, data, and games - and help get us up off the couches and move more....I'm all for it.  Let's go!

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