Toysight


ToySight in Action (no, that's not me)
I've used my iSight for some coast-to-coast video conferences and even over my wireless Internet link, it performs well. The only drawback is not enough people have these things. Well, some haven't been deaf to the pleas of iSight owners. If you've got an iSight camera attached to your Mac and have been wondering what to do with it, Toysight might be what you're looking for.

Toysight is a collection of games that you play by standing in front of your iSight camera and using your hands to control virtual sliders, buttons, and menus on the screen. The free demo only has one game enabled, but it was fun just to see the technology in action. Kind of feels like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Close the door before you start playing or you'll get some funny looks from people since it appears that you're doing a funny dance in front of your computer to what is undeniably computer game music.

In the demo game you use two hand controlled sliders to guide a sky diver toward a target on an island. Other games include one where you wave your arms to throw pies at monkeys before they can hit you with bananas. In another you move your hands to lob fireballs at pirates. This article on the Apple Web site, gives a good description of the games that are included and includes a Quicktime trailer. There's also some bonus features:

Select the Toy Box and apply a variety of filters to the video, such as a ghost mode that gives you a spooky appearance, glow effects that make your hands shimmer and give off stars as they move, and a wormhole that creates distortion.

When everyone‚s arms get tired, have the Party option display the filters randomly while playing the dance music that accompanies the games. Or if you and your pals would rather make your own music, select the Laser Harp and touch the beams to play a series of ethereal notes. Reach high to make them louder. Turn it into a game to see who can play the best concerto.

From Apple - Games - ToySight
Referenced Wed Jan 14 2004 14:37:21 GMT-0700

At first the interface takes some getting used to and you have to play a bit to get the feel of it. You also lose control of things like sliders because you get no feedback when you're no longer "in contact." I found that I had to check every so often because I'd keep dropping the slider and couldn't figure out why the game wasn't behaving. Even so, my nine year old son was able to get the hang of the controls in about 15 seconds and was soon operating it without any trouble. The game is easier to see if the camera is pointed at a clean surface, but background clutter didn't seem to affect game operation. The software does a scan of the background first and subtracts it out of the images for control purposes.

ToySight brings you into the game because you have to move around to make things work. This concept could be expanded to create games that result in real exercise. You can envision multiplayer games that have you competing with others around the Net in a virtual world. Imagine a ToySight enabled Halo where real world conditioning played a role in how well you could play. Instrument an old treadmill and for less that a few hundred bucks, you've got a pretty realistic VR game set-up.