Head- and eye-tracking will be the next big breakthrough in motion-controlled gaming. Forza Motorsport 4 will deliver it via Kinect. But for first-person shooters, we're still stuck controlling our look with our arms, an act as unnatural as it is inconvenient. Some University of Texas students have whipped up a solution for that.
This concept placed third at UT's electrical and computer engineering senior design competition. Using a webcam, some custom software for the head-tracking, and a motorized pico-projector, you get this - a video gaming perspective that changes as you change yours.
The design team (two software engineers, one power systems engineer) demonstrated their creation with a flight sim and a military FPS. "In the FPS, your head was the in-game player's head. When you look right, the in-game player looks right, and the projector pan/tilts to where you're looking," they write. "It's almost like you're in the game!"
That sounds fantastic, but I'm not so sure about this part: "In the flight sim, you used your head as essentially a joystick to control pitch and roll angles." While intriguing, and certainly a proof of concept, that seems to me to be the inverse of the current head-look problem in motion control shooters.
"Ideally, we would have more money (we are students, after all) to get more powerful motors, a dome-like projection screen, and the best possible pico projector for the best resolution," they say. I think some developer or console manufacturer should get in touch with these guys. After they build that, maybe they'll discover something about delivering this on a consumer scale.
Immersive Gaming Experience Using an Eye-Tracking Camera and a Motorized Pico-Projector [PicoProjectorInfo.com]