You can find all sorts of oddball tech lurking in the corners of GDC. There's the indie game Mighter, which uses a Webcam to read your scribbles and create game levels for you to navigate. But how about taking that a step further? At the Vuzix booth, I got a taste of some wacky alternate-reality gaming possibilities.
Imagine looking at a set of Lego blocks. Then, when you train a head-mounted Webcam on it, you suddenly see in-game characters interacting with the real-world objects on screen. What seems like sci-fi fodder is possible through the CamAR, a USB camera that captures 800-by-600-pixel images. Strapped to the Vuzix iWear VR920 headset, it has the potential to put you right in the game.
Other also-rans at GDC include NeuroSky and Performance Designed Products. NeuroSky's brainwave-reading technology is a bit of a bust, if you ask me. It's a binary system that merely reads the intensity of thought. So, I could be thinking about how much I REALLY want a cheeseburger, and it could be thinking that I want to slay demons. What is impressive, though, is that Square Enix signed up to create a demo based on the technology. As with anything, deliver a killer app, and maybe I'll consider buying into this.
Now, for you Xbox 360 owners out there jonesing for a more Wii-like experience, keep your eyes peeled for PDP's Squeeballs. This product is a combo bundle consisting of a game and the Freedom motion controller. It brings the basic feeling of games such as Cooking Mama and Wii Bowling to a platform that looks a whole lot prettier. Expect to find it on store shelves this fall.