Gaming as a hobby evokes images of lethargic teenagers huddled over their controllers, submerged in their couch surrounded by candy bar wrappers. This image should soon hit the reset button since a more exciting version of gaming is coming. It’s called neurogaming, and it’s riding on the heels of some exponential technologies that are converging on each other. Many of these were on display recently in San Francisco at the NeuroGaming Conference and Expo; a first-of-its-kind conference whose existence alone signals an inflection point in the industry.
Experience Media Studios’ 3DPOV® system enables the capture of a three-dimensional visual and auditory experience from the first-person perspective. 3DPOV® media delivers a higher level of sensory engagement than virtual reality that replicates a true-to-life binocular and peripheral visual field and a stereophonic auditory experience.
As game-based learning gains momentum in education circles, teachers increasingly want substantive proof that games are helpful for learning. The game-makers at the non-profit GlassLab are hoping to do this with the popular video game SimCity.
GlassLab is working with commercial game companies, assessment experts, and those versed in digital classrooms to build SimCityEDU, a downloadable game designed for sixth graders. Scheduled to be be released in the fall of 2013, it builds on SimCity’s city management theme, but provides specific challenges to players in the subject of STEM.
The Oculus Rift VR system has been steadily gaining more attention in the past several months, thanks to glowing endorsements from some major figures in the the video game industry and a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign that brought in almost US$2.5 million. We’ve been following the development of the Oculus Rift for some time now, so finding out the company had its virtual reality goggles available to try on at CES was an especially pleasant surprise. Naturally, we simply couldn’t resist giving the Rift a test drive to see if it lived up to all the hype.
Some day not all that far in the future, a new kind of entertainment is going to be perfected that will either be the coolest video game ever, or the media equivalent of a lethal man-made super-virus.
You can predict what that entertainment might be like just by extrapolating from technology that already exists.
Detroit— The North American International Auto Show is letting consumers get a taste of what it’ll be like to be behind the wheel of many new models.
In the middle of the Ford Motor Co. show floor, people can test their racing skills in the virtual simulation of the brand’s sports technology of the Focus. Technicians strap volunteers into an elevated two-seat cockpit controlled by four mechanical legs that allow the drivers to feel every twist and turn as they compete for the best lap time.
Hungarian startup Leonar3Do (pronounced “Leonardo”) today demoed its mind-boggling virtual reality software for PC and Mac that lets you manipulate 3D objects as if they were right in front of you. Using a combination of triangulation (using sensors latched on to your computer) and 3D goggles, Leonar3Do creates an environment for interacting with 3D objects for work or for play. The company’s pro software costs around $2000, and the sensors and “bird,” a N64-esque controller cost another $500. But the pro software’s price is set to be cut in half, and a cheaper $50 software package is ready for launch sometime in the next few months. Researchers, schools, and now consumers are the targets — in part because 3D printers have become so popular.
As the case studies accumulate, gamification continues to gain traction and garner attention. Yet despite its newfound credibility, most still watch from the sidelines. While it may not be right for every business, the stats are hard to ignore. In 2010, corporations spent $100 million on gamification, and that number is expected to rise to $2.8 billion by 2016. The fact is, when done properly, gamification can work. Brand innovators like Coke and Nike know this, and it turns out, so do scientists.
According to the research of gamification pioneer Jane McGonigal, the reason humans collectively spend 3 billion hours a week playing games is tied to the psychological effects delivered by game mechanics. The neurological flow of dopamine, triggered by these underlying mechanics, plays a powerful role in creating positive emotion. And when game mechanics are applied to marketing problems, the response is the same. No wonder gamification can elicit such extraordinary behaviors. Turns out, regardless of the context, we’re hardwired to play.
Image: Rendering of physical environment represented in the AbES software; in gamer mode, the player (yellow icon) navigates through the virtual environment using auditory cues to locate hidden jewels (blue squares) and avoid being caught by chasing monsters (red icons).
Blind people can learn the spatial layout of an unfamiliar building using a novel “video game” virtual reality environment that employs only audio-based cues, thus enabling them to learn skills that may improve functional independence, say US and Chilean scientists.
NEW YORK (AP) — Elmo, Big Bird and the rest of the “Sesame Street” crew have always talked to kids. Now, they’ll try to have a two-way conversation with their pint-sized audience using Kinect, the motion and voice-sensing controller created by Microsoft.
“Kinect Sesame Street TV,” out Tuesday, is not exactly a video game, though it runs on the Xbox 360 video game system. There are no winners and losers, no real rules to follow and no points to score. If you don’t want to play, that’s fine. Just sit back and watch “Sesame Street,” as kids have for the past 43 years. But if you do play, Grover will count coconuts you’ve thrown, the Count will praise you for standing still and Elmo will catch a talking ball if you throw it to him.