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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Does Sony Have A Secret Weapon?

What could it be? Android cows? A death laser (as opposed to a life laser?)? Catapult? Android cow catapult? with lasers??

Rumor has it as another motion detection device:

While everyone is heaping praise on the Wii, (and rightly so) we've received a tip-off from one of our sources that is claiming to have inside information about an accessory that will be available at the launch of the PS3 in mid November. The secret hardware is reportedly being developed by an Israeli company called Prime Sense, with patent-pending technology that can "reconstruct 3D topography without assuming anything about the user or environmental conditions".

Prime Sense’s concept is a device, which allows a computer to perceive the world in 3D and derive an understanding of the world based on sight, just the way humans do.

The device includes a sensor, which sees a user (including their complete surroundings), and a digital component, or "brain" which learns and understands user movement within those surroundings.
-- PS3 Secret Weapon Revealed? (via EmBlog)

Yawn. Prime Sense's website is almost humorously devoid of information. At best, it sounds like an upgraded EyeToy. Which, you know, OK. But a $200 rebate would be more lethal.

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Patrick Dugan said...

Actually, this is fairly significant for social/drama games. Katherine Isbister was telling me how excited she was about some research involving body cues interpreted as social data. In other words, this device should be able to pick up on the user's emotional response as they play and interpret that as a meaningful interface input. Characters can say "hey, why are you so apprehensive?" when you start sitting up all anxious about the unfolding events. There's some potential to that.

Josh said...

I'll grant that's true, although the mumblevine isn't sure if it would be that precise. Rather, it would be gesture or movement based ... so waving rather than smiling.

I have seen that tech in action, though, and it's pretty interesting. I'm not even sure why you couldn't run it off of current gen EyeToys actually, since IIRC it was software analysis of standard video and not specialized hardware.

Plus, and certainly don't take this the wrong way, but I don't think we'll see Sony taking a big dip into social drama games in an effort to spur PS3 sales. I mean, Facade's a great idea but I think they're moving more towards KillZone 2 type blockbusters.

If Sony were to release something like this ... and I'd say that's a pretty giant sized if ... I would think it's greatest usage might be simple navigation and menu systems ... which let's face it - sucks with standard game controllers. Hence that bizarre E3 report on "Minority Report" style interfaces.