Video Games

jeff_han_image.jpgComparing the new Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii game players has become commonplace in the computer press now and for good reason. It’s always fun to see the mighty felled. I haven’t used either of these things, but the PS3 is about as high-tech as Sony could make it with fantastic graphics and a Blu-ray disk player. The Wii is far less expensive and can’t compare on the graphics. But it has one truly unique feature that’s got a lot of gamers’ attention: its controller is motion sensitive. So to play the tennis game, you actually swing the controller around and it registers your movement in space and reproduces it on screen. It’s so compelling that Nintendo recently recalled the straps on the controllers because people were using them so hard they broke.

The more sensory modalities a digital system can connect to, the better it is. A mouse with its two dimensional interface did this a lot better than an old PC running DOS and that’s one reason why the Mac was so much more fun to use.

We’ve been using a mouse-based graphical user interface to edit with for a long time now and it has proved itself remarkably flexible and resilient. You can control just about anything you want with it. The Ediflex light pen, the Lightworks controller and the Avid MUI all seem inflexible by comparison.

As I’ve mentioned before, it seems ridiculous that with the processing power we have that we need to stop video in order to make a change. But more to the point, it ought to be possible to manipulate the interface in more organic ways.

Here’s an example of something that’s possible today. It’s an interface that can sense multiple touch points on a screen, so you can manipulate it using your hands. It’s so intuitive that there’s almost no interface needed. It comes from a guy named Jeff Han, working at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and you can see a video demonstration here. The demo is so compelling that the audience breaks out in spontaneous applause many times as they watch. Take a look and tell me whether you still think your favorite editing system is up to date.

Explore posts in the same categories: Avid, Avid vs. Final Cut, Avid Wish List & Bugs

One Comment on “Video Games”

  1. Steve Says:

    Jobs’ MacWorld keynote is going on as I write this and at the moment he’s demoing the Apple Phone. It uses a new touch screen that he describes as “multi-touch,” the same term that Han uses, and it appears to work in much the same way, sensing multiple contact points on the screen and making sense of various gestures. If it works as advertised, it should be awfully intuitive.

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