Microsoft can rightly claim to have brought gesture recognition to the consumer market through Kinect for Xbox in 2010, but SoftKinetic has been in the business since 2007, providing hardware and software solutions for the consumer electronics and professional markets. Andy and Courtney find out more from Virgile Delporte.
SoftKinetic are team of mathematicians, 3D imaging specialists, software engineers and game designers that have developed both hardware and software components of an end-to-end solution that can be incorporated into new products. The 3D middleware platform, iisu, lets content and video game developers, arcade and fitness equipment manufacturers develop their next interactive product or solution without needing a deep understanding of how the technology behind gesture recognition actually works.
If you want to have a play, SoftKinetic’s DepthSense Professional Kit, which includes a camera, is available from their store for just $499.
Shogun Bros X-1 Chameleon converts between a mouse, a game pad and a presentation controller at the flick of a switch. Sounds like a great idea but does it work in practice? Nick checks it out.
The Chameleon X-1 looks like any ordinary cordless optical mouse when placed on a desk, but flip it over and there’s an array of game-pad controls and buttons on the underside. The X-1 comes in a range of bright colors and the clever design won it a CES Design and Innovation Honoree award. It runs off a single AA battery, making the mouse lightweight, too.
For the gamers, there’s a product tie-in with Assassin’s Creed using customized versions to match in-game characters, including a leather covered mouse – don’t ask me which character this is supposed to be. These limited editions will be on-sale in about a month: the standard X-1 is on-sale now for around $60.
I think it would be fair to say that Cambridge Audio has successfully moved from being a budget hi-fi brand into a solid middle tier player with several of their products receiving praise from audio and home cinema magazines. Consequently, I was interested to see what Cambridge Audio was demonstrating at CES this year, especially as it’s a British company. Scott has the interview.
The DacMagic Plus is a digital-to-analogue converter that will take the digital output from a games console, PC or smartphone, analyse and upscale the signal and then produce a clean analogue signal vastly superior to that produced by the original device. Let’s be honest, the DAC in your average games console or PC probably cost pennies to the OEM so it’s unlikely to be hi-fi quality. The DacMagic Plus has a pair of digital inputs, both optical and co-axial, plus USB input for high data rates (24 bit). There’s also an optional Bluetooth adaptor which uses the new AptX high quality codec. Output is to headphones, phono (RCA) and XLR.
The StreamMagic 6 is a new network music player that streams from a wide variety of sources – PC, uPnP, DLNA, Internet radio, Pandora – and it connects to the network either by ethernet or wireless-n. Cambridge Audio provides an on-line music portal which lets the audiophile choose their listening selection from a PC or tablet before sending the playlist to the StreamMagic. This neatly avoids the problem of poking around thousands of tracks on a tiny screen trying to find the ones you want. Round the back, like the DacMagic Plus, two digital inputs can take signals from sources such as smartphones or music players.
Overall, two great products that are definitely worth checking out.
The Immersive Motion Accessory System comprises small black boxes worn on bands that connect wirelessly to a master controller which in turn, is connected to PC or game console via USB. Each box has an accelerometer, a magnometer and gyroscope to accurately track motion. No optical sensor or camera is needed.
Once the boxes are in place on the player’s head, arms, legs or plastic sword, actions such as hitting, pushing or kicking in the real-world get translated into similar actions in the game. Cleverly, the system converts the gestures into standard game controllers actions such as button presses or joystick moves. Consequently the system can be used with nearly any game console straightaway; there’s no need to wait for developer support.
At CES International 2012, PowerSkin has announced new portable power solutions for smartphones and other rechargeable devices. SolarCharge, Key Charge and Gaming Skins are all designed to keep the mobile user going for longer.
The SolarCharge is a universal charger for all types of smartphone including iPhone, Android and Blackberry, and it comprises a 1000 mAh battery paired with a solar panel in a one-piece housing. The SolarCharge recharges smartphones (and other devices) via a supplied micro-USB connector and other connectors are available for non-standard devices. The battery in the SolarCharge itself is recharged via USB from a PC, via a micro-USB mains charger or from the sun through the solar panel, so there are plenty of options for the mobile user. The blue rubberised skin has embedded LEDs to show the battery’s charge level.
The KeyCharge has a smaller capacity at 750 mAh and is intended for a quick boost rather than a full recharge. Small enough to fit on a keychain, the KeyCharge only comes with a micro-USB connector and consequently is not suitable for use with iPhones or iPods. Two variants are available to cater for the different positions of the micro-USB connector on smartphones, i.e. side or bottom. As with the SolarCharge, the KeyCharge is recharged via a micro-USB connector, either from a PC or from a mains adaptor.
Also on display at CES will be PowerSkin’s Gaming Skins for iOS and Nintendo 3DS, which were announced in December 2011, along with an array of battery-boosting smartphone skins for all the popular makes.
Posted by KL Tech Muse at 7:31 PM on January 8, 2012
If you are a gamer you know that the best games are those that you can immerse yourself in. That is the idea behind 3D goggles. The trouble with most of them is that they require you to be connected by wire to a video source and cable, limiting the users mobility. Sensics will be introducing new 3D goggles technology at CES 2012 called SmartGoggles, they are being advertised as intelligent, immersive and interactive. They use technology based on professional head-mounted displays. They have great resolution and depth of field. They allow for the real-time 360 degree tracking of the users hands without wires or the need for an external computer. This will allow the gamer to track their location and route no matter where they go or are going. This will allow for greater portability and on board intelligence. These new SmartGoggles will not only be great for gaming but also with other entertainment devices. SmartGoggles can run almost, any Android application, connect to the cloud and work with numerous devices. The application processor embedded in the goggles is so powerful you can run and store Android applications locally on the goggles. Yuval Boger Sensics Chief Executive Officer said “SmartGoggles revolutionize 3D goggles the same way that Smart Phones revolutionized mobile phones”
Sensics will be doing private demonstration in the South hall ground Leval MP 25942 at CES 2012. At this point there are no googles on the market that use the SmartGoggles technology. They are looking for developers to start developing for the platform. SmartGoggles technology will be available to consumer electronics companies to building goggles that their customers will love, hopefully by late spring 2012. Maybe, hopefully soon real immersive gaming will become a reality.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 7:04 PM on November 28, 2011
If you grew up in the era of Atari then you probably still get nostalgic for it once in a while. Thankfully, there are still ways to get your Atari fix. I occasionally fire up an emulator on my computer from time to time and play a game of Centipede or Asteroids. But, if you don’t want to sit in front of your desktop or laptop, you can now take your Atari addiction mobile.
Atari’s Greatest Hits is now available in the Android Market. The app itself is free and comes with Missile Command. Additional games packs are available for $0.99 each, or you can purchase all 100 games for $9.99. The game packs can only be purchased from within the Atari’s Greatest Hits app, and are sold through the Amazon Android App Store.
Atari requires you to be running Android 2.2 or newer. If you’re looking for a fun way to waste some time and take a stroll down memory lane then this is a must-have app for a reasonable price – and, hey, if you just like missile Command, it’s even more reasonable at the price of free. You can check out the brief intro video below.
Posted by geeknews at 12:55 AM on November 18, 2011
Ok for the business folks out there that need some extra exposure. I have a ridiculous deal for you, get heard and seen on this show through the dates below.. Pony up to the bar and help support the Support staff for CES 2012. All moneys earned will go towards those team members support cost for the show.
On new orders get 35% off total order amount: Promo Code go35off2
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 6:22 PM on November 7, 2011
Today Ford announced their latest advertising initiative, which involves the gaming world. No, you won’t be able to play Angry Birds in your car via Sync, that would likely prove dangerous. What Ford is doing is branding their vehicles in video games, and it’s actually not something new. They have been at this for a while, beginning in 1995 with Sega Rally, but they are now making a more concerted push.
While gamers seem locked into their virtual worlds, they are surprisingly aware of the products that appear in those worlds. And driving games may be one of the genres where the gamer is most aware of the product. After all, the gamer in a car race is keenly aware of the car he or she chooses because it may make the difference between winning and losing.
“We’ve realized that gaming is something that many people have grown up with and helpsdefine who they are,” said Brian Mcclary, with Ford’s Social and Emerging Media team. “Fordhas gained positive exposure and popularity because we put our products into the right games while giving something back to the gamer.”
Ford is doubling down their efforts now with the release of Forza Motor Sport 4 (released 10/11/11) and Need for Speed The Run (to be released 11/15/11). They have found that allowing their vehicles to be used in-game gets them more brand recognition and more positive feedback, which translates to more potential customers. Here are the numbers that they provided from their study.
36% increase in brand rating
28% increase in purchase consideration
39% increase in brand recommendation
45% more gamers agreed Ford Focus is fun to drive
It’s good to see Ford continue to “get it” with their innovation to keep them on top in an ever-changing digital world. Their partnership with Microsoft for the Sync system and the forward looking advertising with gaming and even with supporting podcasts is something many other old-world companies should take note of.
If you are a gamer, you can check out Forza Motor Sport 4 in the Xbox Marketplace and NSF The Run at the EA Need for Speed website (you can pre-order now). You can view a trailer of NSF below, but it’s not completely family safe (language).
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 5:48 PM on November 5, 2011
EA, one of the most popular game makers, has been in the mobile market for some time now. Thanks to a deal with some handset makers, like Motorola, preview editions of their games come pre-installed. That’s great but, of course, to get the whole game you have to pay up. Also, in some cases the games are not even an option for uninstall. That’s bad, but here’s what is not so bad – EA makes some really good games. Their flagship racing game, Need for Speed, has been a best-seller in the Android Market with the “NSF Shift” version.
Now NSF Shift has been surpassed by EA’s latest release, which hit the market a couple of days ago. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is now available with a host of cool features. You can choose from a variety of sports cars that will make the average male drool. There’s the Porsche, Pagani, Bugotti, and Lamborghini Murcielago to name just a few. Or, if you choose to be the cop in this game, you can get the rarest of them all – the Lamborghini Reventon.
Before you get too excited though, there’s one key thing you need to know. To get the hottest cars you will need to unlock them. Unlocking a car requires a certain amount of points. With each point level reached another vehicle becomes available. Once you get a car you can choose to use it or any of the ones you have already unlocked. You can also customize its color by using sliders to choose the way you want your vehicle to look. Like the previous NSF Shift, it uses your phone’s accelerometer to control the car.
The game is available for $6.99 from the Android Market. It’s not a small download, being around 500MB when it’s all said and done, but it will entertain any mobile gamer. In the first 24 hours my son is up to a Porsche Cayman, but I would really like my Droid back…