21 December 2010

Only Kinect: Monument as Playground in Munich

Last month interactive technology company seeper set up a system of motion sensors and projectors that allowed passerby to 'play' the medieval Karlstor next to Stachus in Munich (via Wired).

The level of hype in this video is pretty comical, but playing the Karlstor looks like fun! Especially after a couple glasses of gluhwein. Repurposing familiar monuments like this is good. So often we feel like old things, especially monuments, rule us. This game creates a kind of inversion of that psychology, creating a dissonance that lets you see old things in a new light. Games like this are also very conservation compatible, since it's non-invasive: a good tip for people minded to turn ancient monuments into modern spectacles.

I did a little snooping and it turns out that the production end is pretty straightforward - the Kinect is an off-the-shelf attachment for Microsoft's Xbox video game console, released last month, that does motion tracking and even face and voice recognition. Microsoft's attempt to one-up the Wii. Combine it with a projector and a little modelling savvy, and interactive games projected onto the urban environment are (or will soon be) within many peoples' reach. There's a ton of interesting implications popping into my mind already: interactive scenes or puzzles as part of museum or monument tours, urban gaming, the fusion of the video game and live-action role-playing experience.

All this, and archaeologists don't even use film yet. Time to leapfrog a couple generations of technology methinks.

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