A motion gaming system, sometimes called a motion-controlled gaming system, is one that allows players to interact with the system through body movements. Input is usually through a combination of spoken commands, natural real-world actions and gesture recognition.
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The Nintendo Wii, released in November 2006, was the first motion-controlled gaming system. The current Wii Remote\Wii MotionPlus system competes with Microsoft’s Kinect for the X-Box 360 and Sony’s Move add-on for the Playstation console.
Both the Wii Remote and Playstation Move rely on handheld hardware controllers that resemble television remotes. A camera in the console tracks the position of the controller.
The Wii Remote controller is equipped with an accelerometer that detects details of movement, such as rotation, tilt, and direction and degree of acceleration; that information is communicated wirelessly to the console for input.
The Playstation Move controller has a glowing ball at the top that is tracked by a video camera called “the eye” that is plugged into the console. Once the camera detects the ball, it can identify its coordinates in 3-D space and use that information for input. The Playstation system also uses facial recognition and head position tracking.
The Kinect is a controller-free system with a depth camera and motion sensor. The system uses face recognition and voice recognition to identify users. The depth camera, which “sees” in 3-D, creates a skeleton image of the player and the motion sensor tracks their movements. Speech recognition software allows the system to understand spoken commands.
Motion control technologies – especially the controller-free ones – are being applied to many non-gaming areas. Since Kinect launched in November 2010, developers have incorporated the systems into applications for health IT, robotics, videoconferencing, image processing, augmented reality and 3-D rendering.
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