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Innovation & Startups

Play on walls or anywhere: Disney Research Pittsburgh unleashes gaming on the real world

Disney Research Pittsburgh has unveiled a novel, game-playing technology that will forever change the playing field for computerized gaming. 
Called SideBySide, the system allows two people to play together anywhere--on walls, the sides of buildings, just about any flat surface--and doesn't require a wireless connection or fixed sensing equipment. The units are mobile, lightweight, handheld projector that emit both visible and invisible projections at the same time, explains Ivan Poupyrev, senior research scientist with Disney Pittsburgh. 
The invisible projection contains tracking data that is recognized by the camera, allowing accurate location, tracking and communication between devices. Players can project, play and work with visible images while using features like drag and drop. 
It's a concept that's faintly reminiscent of shadow play with flashlights, Poupyrev says. "It takes gaming off the screen and into the real world. The world around you becomes the new game space." 
When it comes to Disney, there is no limit to how and where this latest interactive experience will play out. Games might show up on the sides of skyscrapers, on amusement park rides or resorts, cruise ships or in waiting areas.  
SideBySide was unveiled this week at the USIT Symposium in Santa Barbara, Calif, the premier forum for the latest in cutting-edge software technologies, where received a "best paper" award as the top project presented. The project was developed in Pittsburgh under lead researcher Karl Willis. 
The project grew out work on an earlier motion-beam technology, which used mobile projectors for single user interaction. "As we worked on it, we realized the communal aspect of the projection was very important," says Poupyrev. "It's perfect for multiple players."
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Ivan Poupyrev, Disney Research Pittsburgh
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