The success of the Wii has brought a lot of attention to motion-based game controls. Sony and Microsoft are undoubtedly working on their own motion-control systems right at this moment, but Motus, a company started by a team of MIT grads out in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has already demonstrated a new controller that has the potential to bring motion control to any gaming platform.
“A few companies approached us and asked us to be an enabler for their motion technology… in a role like [Gyration’s relationship with Nintendo]. Others have said, ‘we want you to build something that looks like the Darwin controller.” – Satayan Mahajan
In 2001, MIT alum Satayan Mahajan used a toy “lightsaber” to build a prototype of a motion-control device for video games and presented it to a handful of game publishers. The response, he said, was laughter and mockery.
Seven years later, Nintendo Co. Ltd.’s Wii has changed the way gamers interact with games, and Mahajan sees his chance to get the last laugh.
One of the things about the Darwin controller that the Wii currently does not have is that it locks together to create one large controller, which you can then open up for some good two-player action. Motus began as a sports tech company that helped poor golfers improve their terrible swings through controllers that used orientation cues. As a result, the company might be especially prepared to handle cursor applications for complicated video games.
Could it be that one gadget could bring down the success of an entire company?
The Motus Darwin, unlike the Wii-Remote, uses gyroscopes and accelerometers to pinpoint its location with respect to the Earth. It is planned for a holiday 2008 release and will likely retail for $70-90. It is said to provide a premium realistic experience (especially in sports games like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08) that will actually increase immersion as well as help real-life play rather than hindering it as found in athletes playing on the Wii.
Darwin tracks motion using gyroscopes, accelerometers and a compass, which allows it to track absolute motion without the need for a sensor bar like the Wiimote.
Consumers seem enchanted by the Nintendo Wii’s motion-controlled remote, buying more than one million units of Wii hardware last December alone, according to market research firm NPD Group. A Boston-based company, Motus Corporation, hopes to take advantage of the Wii’s popularity through a new product: the Motus Darwin , which allows motion-based control on non-Nintendo game systems, including the PC.
If you’re among those constantly trying to tweak your golf swing, there’s a new tool available that allows you to get more detailed than ever. In the following story, NY1 Tech Beat Reporter Adam Balkin takes a look at the new Body Motion System.