Monday, January 07, 2008

Innovation Upon Innovation

It is said that the greatest inventors in human history were merely working on the backs of those that came before them. It's true. Very little is genuinely new. Nothing is born into the world that doesn't have an ancestry that reaches back to decades, especially technology.

As much as I love Nintendos motion sensitive controls on the Wii, it's not entirely new. People have been trying it out for ages now. Heck, the PS2 had controllerless controllers with the EyeToy, which worked surprisingly well.

Keeping in that tradition, check out these amazing videos that use the Wii Remote in clever and innovative ways. They are all from Carnegie Mellon University Ph.D. Graduate Student, Johnny Chung Lee. His website, is a treasure trove of genius proportions!! And better yet, he posts a bunch of the programmes that he uses to create the videos that follow! Seriously, check it out. It's amazing. I really, really want to see a game using some of these ideas.

First up, using the Wii remote for head tracking on desktop VR displays. Stunning.

Next, using a Wii remote to create low-cost multi-touch whiteboard. This is something I'm really tempted to try out. It would be fun even just to show off and play around with.

And finally, for embedded video anyway, using Minority Report style finger tracking with the Wii remote.

Also worth checking out is Johnny's "Moveable Projected Displays using Projector Based Tracking" from 2003 and, after you've seen that one, find out where that builds to after four years with his video titled "Foldable Displays". It's worth noting, before I get any complaints, that I'm well aware that it is far from a foldable display, and more just a development of his projector technology. It's still freaking awesome! This guy is going to go really, really far if he keeps up this level of inventiveness! I wish I was half as computer savvy and inventive as him.

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