The Wii made motion control a big deal with its Wiimotes. Now, four years later, the system is starting to show its age and competitors are sneaking in, such as Sony's more accurate Move and Microsoft's controller-less Kinect. Where can we go next? A group of students have an idea after taking a cue from Avatar.
One of the reasons Avatar cost so much money is that James Cameron pursued a bunch of new film tech to make it happen. One such technology was the Simul-cam, which processed the movie's computer generated environment on the fly as the actors did their thing, meaning the director saw a hybrid view of the virtual effects over the live action footage rather than having to wait a few days for animators and artists to work on a shot. This greatly sped up the process, considering it eliminated that back-and-forth where a scene would be shot, it'd get a once-over from the animation team, and then a director would decide if it's worth keeping.
A development team at the University of Abertay Dundee in the U.K. led by computer games technology lecturer Matt Bett wanted to expand this idea of a virtual camera and marry it to a motion controller. It's not exactly a 1:1 with Avatar — there's no mapping a virtual environment to a real-life one, yet — though the idea of trying to get the "view" of a motion controller to work much like a camera could open up some new avenues for video games and the like. First person shooters, for instance, are wildly popular on other consoles but have yet to find their place on the Wii, and probably won't blow up using the Move or Kinect, either.
Computer animation is another space the Abertay Dundee tech could excel in, as the motion controller camera allows for a lot of film-like effects. Check it out in the video below.