The original Kinect became popular among home-brew, DIY tinkerers… but failed to make much of a splash among its actual intended audience, the gamers. For the next iteration, Disney Research is working on one element they feel might have been missing from the original device, and that’s any form of physical feedback. But they don’t want you wear anything in order to feel this feedback, since that would defeat the purpose of the Kinect, so they’re working on a device which basically blows compressed air on you at the right time, in the hopes of making you feel something or other. It’s called the Aireal.
The air coming out of Aireal does so as a vortex, which is capable of traveling quite a long distance without losing much speed or its shape. The Aireal device also moves to track the player, meaning precise placement of the air hits on your body can be achieved.
How well this works is still being worked out, but Disney Research will be presenting a technical paper on the technology at SIGGRAPH 2013 in July. There’s also no word on whether Microsoft is even interested in bringing this to market, or whether even Sony or Nintendo would like to incorporate this into their gaming console strategies. But credit must be given to a desire for innovation, whether it bears commercial fruit or not.
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