MIT’s augmented-reality rope lets you team up to fly a kite
Hands-free controllers like Kinect may not be ideal for all video games. If you were to fly a virtual kite, wouldn’t you want to hold something tangible?
Now a new game called Rope Revolution, developed by graduate student Lining Yao and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, uses an augmented-reality rope to allow players to fly a kite, ride a horse or skip with a partner across the globe.
The rope controller recognises various gestures, using a sensor in the wall attachment and an accelerometer built into the rope handle. For the kite flying game, the sensor is key to determining the position of the rope within the space, whereas the accelerometer is more important for jump rope to identify rotational motion. The system also generates rope resistance to make the virtual experience feel lifelike.
According to Yao, players who tried the game preferred the physical experience to versions using a hands-free controller. Add-ons like wind simulation towers or a mat with a pressure sensor that determines if a jump is synchronised with the rope motion, also enhanced the experience.
While players can go solo, Yao believes that teaming up leads to more fun and creativity. “When people play together, they care less about the goal and more about communication and interaction,” she says.
Yao hopes to set up the system at a centre in Shanghai, so that children there can play with those in her Cambridge lab. “There is no language barrier with games,” she explains.
Caitlin Stier, New Scientist