New ways of interacting: Lessons from non-standard games controllers

I gave another IET Technology Coffee Morning talk this morning, on non-standard games controllers.


How do computers get information from you? The standard keyboard and mouse setup has been widely available since the mid-80s. Things are moving on. Other talks in this series have covered touch-sensitive surfaces, but there are other developments. Games consoles in particular are pioneering a mass market for new ways for people to interact with computers, including wireless sensors for motion, orientation, micro-myograms and encephalograms. In other words, the computer knows how you’re holding something, where you’re pointing it, how you’re standing, which muscles are twitching, and even pick up your brain waves. Examples of all of these technologies are now retailing for £100 or less. In this session, Doug will provide a critical review of current consumer-grade HCI technologies. And then we might play some games. Er, I mean, there will follow an opportunity for participants themselves to critically evaluate some of these technologies in a direct experiential mode.


Further information

Here’s the Natal demo video that I showed – the “no controller required” play system from Microsoft announced yesterday at E3:

And here’s games legend Peter Molyneux talking about how wonderful Natal is for personal interaction experiences – more here of possible educational use than in the first video:

And if you’re interested in messing around with games controllers, have a look at Johnny Chung Lee’s blog – he’s famous for Wii remote hacks but apparently has recently been working with Xbox on Natal, “making sure this can transition from the E3 stage to your living room”.

And finally

I notice that I spotted the Emotiv EPOC being announced back in February 2008, “allegedly ready for mass sale next Christmas”.  The latest on the Emotiv website I can find is that you can reserve one for $299, and “We expect to be able to deliver the product to you in 2009”. We’ll see.

Author: dougclow

Data scientist, tutxor, project leader, researcher, analyst, teacher, developer, educational technologist, online learning expert, and manager. I particularly enjoy rapidly appraising new-to-me contexts, and mediating between highly technical specialisms and others, from ordinary users to senior management. After 20 years at the OU as an academic, I am now a self-employed consultant, building on my skills and experience in working with people, technology, data science, and artificial intelligence, in a wide range of contexts and industries.

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