, an interface for using handheld projectors to interact with physical surfaces, was another interactive technology that seeks to move videogame-style play beyond the limits of the traditional television screen. Twinkle
uses a projector and a camera to add "augmented reality" within the beam of light. It is held much like a flashlight, but the area that is illuminated by the flashlight is analyzed by a computer and serves as an environment in which a sprite lives. Twinkle
uses color to determine areas and special elements, then determines collisions with these colors and behaves appropriately. Moving the light around will cause your sprite to fly the direction you are moving the light, but if you lower her onto a black area, she will land on it and stand there or, if you continue to move the spotlight across the black surface, she will walk across the surface, attempting to remain in the center of the beam. If she encounters a "wall" of black, she will be stopped, however. If you then continue to move the light, she will be pushed to the edge and will "pop", much like Mario would on certain levels where you are forced to continue moving, but end up in a situation where you can't do so. Red items represent fire, while blue represents water. Forcing your sprite over either of these causes her to either catch on fire or get soaking wet. Interestingly, however, once done, you can reverse the effect with the opposite, either putting out the fire by moving her over the water or drying her off by moving her to the fire.
In the demonstration I tried, the play field was a whiteboard, with black rectangular magnets that served as walls and platforms, red magnets shaped like flames and blue magnets shaped like water drops. Additionally, areas colored in with dry erase markers also served as boundaries, fire or water, based on their colors. If you don't like sprites or fairies, however, no matter... this is really just a proof of concept. This is merely defining a manner of playing. What the visuals are, how the gameplay works and what the different colors indicate can change wildly with the game design.
Another exhibit, Versatile Training Field (or VFT) is touted as a "Wellness Entertainment System Using Trampoline Interface" and is intended to promote physical activity during gameplay. The VFT features a small trampoline which has a sensor beneath it that determines how the player is moving and where they are stepping. The system then translates these actions into avatar actions in the virtual world, allowing the player to effectively exercise in a virtual space. Visual representation of the space is accomplished by short throw projectors on two large area displays - one in front of the player and one beneath, to give a sense of immersion in the virtual environment.
It was fascinating to see and try out these interesting gaming concepts, but for now, they are just concepts. Still, you never know how quickly you might see LED motion panels for home consoles or a handheld self-contained projector based videogame, a la Twinkle. Time will tell and, as ever, today's kids get all the cool toys...