We were pretty excited by the prospect of location-aware software and its ability to pull map data into its functions, but what do you get when build software on top of a map-based service? Well, one possibility is 2D gaming on real maps.
By now you’ve probably seen the video of two researchers from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) navigating through maps on Google Earth by using the Wii Fit Balance Board. They’ve gone even further now by using the board to navigate World of Warcraft. It’s obvious that the board is usable with any 3D environment. The hack is entirely software based, as the board is completely unmodified. It relays data to a laptop via Bluetooth, where the pressure data in converted to directional instructions by their custom app written in C#. No notes on the project are available on DFKI’s site, but we’re betting they’ll release the software to the public once all the kinks are worked out.
[via Balance Board Blog]
There are several very nice 3D mice out there for navigating services like Google Earth or Second Life. 3Dconnexion for example makes a whole line of devices for 3D navigation. Their compact units offer 6-8 degrees of freedom with several customizable options. The company has an SDK available and many of their devices are natively compatible with Linux (or available for access through an XInput driver). So while that is all well and great, lets look at some alternative ways people are navigating 3D spaces.