Many of the advances in game-related tech we've seen in the past few years have come in the area of control. Touch screens and motion control have become the order of the day on our handheld devices as well as on our home consoles.
A researcher at Carnegie Mellon University has designed a prototype system, called Armura, that takes the basic idea of the Kinect one step closer to science fiction's Minority Report-style interfaces.
Armura, like the Kinect, relies on the user being in a space that has the system set up, rather than on carrying a certain device. The Economist reports in further detail:
Armura takes the idea a stage further by mounting both sensors and projector in the ceiling. This frees the user from the need to carry anything, and also provides a convenient place from which to spot his gestures.
The actual detection is done by infra-red light, which reflects off the user's skin and clothes. A camera records the various shapes made by the user's hands and arms. Software then identifies different arrangements of the user's arms, hands and fingers, such as arms-crossed, thumbs-in, thumbs-out, book, palms-up, palms-down and so on.
According to Mr Harrison, the hands alone are capable of tens of thousands of interactions and gestures. The trick is to distinguish between them, matching the gesturer's intention to his pose precisely enough that the correct consequence follows, but not so precisely that slightly non-standard gestures are ignored.
The article stresses the ways in which this technology could be used in public spaces like shopping malls. It's fascinating not only to think about how this technology could work for games in the future — perhaps a shared space, an Armura arcade? — but also to see how gaming technology influences the path of other communications research.