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Is Ultrasound the game controller of the future?


Using ultrasound to feel virtual objects

What is the next evolution in game controllers? How about Ultrasound, which lets you FEEL virtual objects.

A new system developed by a team in Tokyo lead by Professor Takayuki Iwamoto harnesses the power of ultrasonic waves in order to create touchable virtual objects out of thin air. Drawn from the burgeoning field of haptics (the study of integrating computing power with our senses of touch) the ultrasound system uses focused sound waves to create mid-air shapes that a user can actually feel with their bare hands, no other device is necessary! The sound is a pressure wave and is inaudible. And as sound waves from each of the transducers interfere, it creates a focal point that is perceived as a solid object. The device also includes a camera to track the position of the user’s hand and shifts the output from the transducers to move the focus around with the hand. The result is a feeling of tracing the edge or surface of the virtual object.

So far though, the system provides a small force only in the vertical dimension, but the team is improving the geometry of the array and the amount of power it can produce so that future devices will provide a stiffer feel and more contoured objects.

“You can feel it with both hands, rather than having just a single point of contact, and multiple people can use it at the same time,” he told the BBC. “The kinds of things we use aren’t connected through mechanical arms or you’re wearing some kind of exoskeleton. It’s great to have something that you can just walk up and use and not need any other kind of hardware you have to hold or wear.”

As should be obvious to any gamer, this could have huge implications for the gaming industry, as current controllers for the 360, PS3 and Wii are still limited in their ability to make the player “feel” the action, using old “rumbling” technology, which really just vibrates the controllers.

And the possibility of using this technology in video games isn’t all that far-fetched, especially when you consider that the development team of the ultrasound device has already gotten “several proposals from industrial companies”. Hmm, wonder which companies.

Via BBC News

Published on September 10th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nintendogs Wii in Nintendo developers’ minds since 2006


Nintendogs Wii fake boxartNintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development’s general manager, Takahashi Tezuka, was interviewed back at E3 2006 about a Nintendogs Wii sequel to the Nintendogs virtual puppy-raising simulator on the Nintendo DS, which sold nearly 18 million copies of the various editions since 2005. While it seems like a good fit with the interactive Wii controls, he was careful with his words, suggesting that Nintendo had already thought of the idea.

IGN asked: “Will you bring Nintendogs to Wii?”

Mr. Tezuka answered: “It’s definitely a property that we’re looking at because it was so well received and it did so well for us. There are definitely conversations about where we can take it next. Nothing specific yet, but it’s definitely something that’s in our minds.”

Will the Nintendogs jump out of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl screen into their own Wii game? Only time will tell. Nintendo will show off their unannounced future lineup at the E3 Summit 2008 on July 15-17th.
Nintendog in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii
PS: I made the above boxart myself, do you like it?

Jon Stewart’s hilarious take on Second Life


Jon Stewart, Beowolf Porpoiseburg, and Rob Riggle’s avatar all report for The Daily Show on the American Congress Hearings by GLITTERACTICACOOKIE in a discussion about the potential dangers of the virtual world Second Life. *breathes in* Oh yeah!

Via Kotaku, more info at the Washington Post.

Published on April 8th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why you can’t play Wii Virtual Console games directly off an SD memory card


2000 Wii Points Card for use on the Virtual ConsoleA Nintendo customer service representative was asked why you can’t play downloaded Wii Virtual Console games directly off of the SD Card. You know, instead of having to either delete games then re-download them, or save games onto the SD cards and then transfer them back later on. His answer clears up any confusion you might have and at the same time makes our cries for a Wii USB Hard Drive even louder, since it could easily fit under the Wii to replace the stand. Anyway, his answer was:

“I don’t know if you’ve transferred any games from your Wii memory to an SD memory card. If you have, you’re already aware that it can take a long time. The data access speeds for the SD memory card are so slow that running a game directly from a card would be full of delays. For fast data transfer speeds, it’s necessary to have the game data reside in the system memory.

As players continue to download Virtual Console games, the Wii console’s internal memory will fill up. However, it’s important to note that the actual downloaded game and the license to have that downloaded game on your Wii console reside in two separate areas of your Wii Internal Memory. The game resides in the Channels section while the license is kept in your Wii Shop Channel account.

What this means to you is that once you’ve beaten a Virtual Console game, feel free to delete it to make room for another game. If at any point you decide to play it again, access the Wii Shop Channel and download it again. It is possible to delete and re-download purchased Virtual Console games as many times as you like for free, even if you were to re-format the console. This will allow you to free up the space you need for game saves and new Channels indefinitely.

The only way to delete or lose the license is to delete your Wii Shop Channel account entirely, which would then delete the licenses of all the games you’ve downloaded,” quotes Nintendoeverything.

Published on December 30th, 2007 under , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why you can’t pay with exact change on Xbox Live Arcade


1600 Microsoft Points Card for use on Xbox LiveXbox 360 group product manager Aaron Greenberg was asked why you can’t pay exact amounts for content on Xbox Live Arcade. His answer clears up any confusion you might have:

The reason why we do that, the core reason, is around credit card transaction fees. If we do this in bulk, we don’t have to burden the consumer with the transaction fees, or ourselves or publishers. It’s about keeping infrastructure costs down and I know sometimes it’s frustrating because you end up with odd points, but we don’t have any plans to change that,” quotes 1UP.

PAL Wii Virtual Console gets first Neo Geo download Fatal Fury and adds 4 more Sega Mega Drive games


Get a Wii Points Card at Amazon UKNintendo of Europe has added 5 new classic games to the ever popular Wii Shop Channel, including the first ever Neo Geo title! Also included are four games from Sega’s Mega Drive/Genesis system as part of “Sega Week”. The games went live at midnight CET. Wii owners with a high-speed Internet connection can redeem Wii Points to download the games. Wii Points can be purchased in the Wii Shop Channel or at stores like Amazon UK (Card).

We’ve included videos of the games in action for nostalgia’s sake or so you can see if any of these games are for you. This week’s new games are:

Fatal Fury: King of Fighters – Neo Geo – 900 Wii Points | €9
SNK’s legendary fighter Fatal Fury is now on the Virtual Console! Hailing from the ultra-powerful (for it’s time) Neo Geo game system, Fatal Fury is sure to satisfy the craving of 2D fighting fans everywhere! Similar to Street Fighter II, Fatal Fury has it’s own set of characters each with unique moves to master, play as fan favorites like Terry Bogard, Andy Bogard, Joe Higashi and Geese Howard. You can even “dodge” attacks, something that was new for the time. Fatal Fury is a cult-classic and a worthy addition to the Virtual Console library.

Streets of Rage 3 - Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) - 800 Wii Points | €8
In Streets of Rage 3, crime boss Mr. X is back with a new plan to replace city officials with robotic doubles! So it’s up to the vigilantes Axel, Blaze, Skate and cybernetic newcomer Dr. Zan to rid the streets of crime for the final time.

Golden Axe 3 - Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) - 800 Wii Points | €8
Golden Axe 3 completes the saga of the hit hack ‘n’ slash series. Play as three new characters, unleash new moves such as team-based attacks and spells, and restore peace to the kingdom once again.

Super Thunder Blade - Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) - 800 Wii Points | €8
Super Thunder Blade is the console-exclusive follow-up to the arcade original that sees you piloting your lone attack helicopter against waves of enemy craft across land, sea and air in a pretty blatant rip-off of Nintendo’s original Starfox, just not nearly as good.

Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole - Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) - 800 Wii Points | €8

Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole is a fantasy role-playing game that follows the exploits of young treasure hunter Nigel, on a quest to seek the lost fortune of a tyrannical monarch.

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