If you cast your mind back to May this year, you can probably recall MotionBeam, a prototype gaming system that uses a projector as a controller of sorts. While the interactive projection idea was pretty impressive, it was still in the early stages of development. But since then, the team at Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University have added a cool new feature: multiplayer support.
MotionBeam now goes under the guise of SideBySide, because it now lets you play games with two or more people. Now when you fire up the handheld projector, it becomes aware of other projectors within a certain area. It can then connect them altogether so you can collaborate or play with others. SideBySide comes with a handful of preloaded multiplayer games, as well as some handy workplace tools, such as the ability to "drag and drop" contact details from one projection to another.
The mobile projector itself outputs both visible and invisible projections at once. While the visible is the content displayed on any surface, the invisible contains tracking data. The device's camera picks up the data to allow precise location tracking of more than one projection as well as communication between projectors.
Project leader Karl D.D. Willis tells GeekTech:
"Our previous system was strictly single-player motion control with no interaction with other devices. In the new system, two people with individual projector-phones can have a boxing duel, where their projected characters are aware and respond to each other.
"All tracking and communication is done using an invisible infrared projection. So no cameras installed in the room, and no bluetooth pairing or wifi setup required. This is, as far as we are aware, a world first and something we believe is going to make gaming with a handheld projector very attractive in the future."
SideBySide is shaping up to be a pretty cool device, and it could be popular with younger audiences to play with on their bedroom walls.
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