Amazing Kids! Magazine

Connecting the Dots for “Controller-less” Gaming!

By Gen L’Esperance, Sci-Tech Kids! Columnist

How did they do that? Connecting the Dots for “Controller-less” Gaming!

Last month I talked about Kinect and the fun of a whole new way of gaming. Now I can tell you exactly how it works!

So how does this really work?

The first step is the motion sensors that track your entire body. So when you play, it’s not only about your hands and wrists. It’s about all of you: arms, legs, knees, waist, hips and so on. In the case of one system there are 92 points of detection on your body. That’s a lot of tracking going on all at the same moment in time.

Right down to “Skeletal Tracking”

As you play, the game system creates a digital skeleton of you based on depth data. So when you move left or right or jump around, the sensor will capture it and put you in the game.

Hello it’s “ Me” again!

Some systems can remember who you are by collecting physical data that’s stored in your profile. So when you want to play again, the system knows it’s you! You can jump right back into the action. I can do this with my system so I can start playing faster.

My Voice is now in “Memory”

Using microphones allows sensors to recognize and separate your voice from the other noises in the room, so you can control movies and more with your voice. Need to get up and grab some popcorn? Say “pause” and the movie stops and only starts again when you say “play”.

The thing I enjoy most about this new technology is that I can play alone or with friends and we can be on a team together or compete against one another, all for fun. The dance games really give you a great workout and teach better hand eye coordination because it is you that is really what’s being tested. I watched my mom beat many people younger than her and the guys too!

The Future?

Have you ever wanted to fly a plane or drive a car but you’re still too young? Well that’s one of the neat things with using a technology that is more sensitive to what you do, rather than a controller. You can feel as if you’re doing all these things very realistically. With 92 points tracking, you’ll get good quickly as you can see the impact of your moves made on the game.

I asked a few people what they thought this type of technology could be used for in the future. Some of the answers were pretty surprising:

Medicine: a doctor can help guide other doctors using remote technology to guide their movements and it is expected that not only will this help them control robotic arms at a distance but also help them teach future doctors.

Grandma and Grandpa: For people who cannot always get out to exercise, not only can they play but they can do so with other friends over the internet who use the same system. With avatars users can see their friends “knocking” on their door to play. So you could get Grandpa up for a game, even though you’re on the other side of the country or the world!

Teaching: A lot of teaching happens over the internet but in a very one-sided mode. Now we can see a day where future CSI’s can walk through a training crime scene and role play how they would do their work. Students could practice digging for relics or building structures and testing their capacity to withstand a hurricane.

Gaming has changed and we are in for a great ride!