CES 2011: AikenLabs Can Turn Anything Into Motion-Controlled System
CREDIT: Stuart Fox
LAS VEGAS – The biggest drawback of the Xbox Kinect isn't the price — or the accuracy, or the lag time — it's that it only works with the Xbox. Immersive Motion, the new product that AikenLabs unveiled at CES 2011, solves that problem by bringing motion control to any game, robot, animation program or pretty much any system the user can think of.
Immersive Motion uses small sensors, each one measuring nine different axis, that attach to any surface the user wants. For body control, simply strap the sensors onto your arms and legs. Or put one on the end of a broom handle and let that be the controller for your in-game lightsaber. Each sensor communicates with a central hub via radio waves, so the user doesn't even need to be in the same room as the receiver, let alone have an unobstructed line of sight.
The secret sauce of this versatility comes from the software. The user maps each sensor to a particular computer function, much like a gaming controller or joystick . This system is so open that one could conceivably even design a system for that translates physical movements into typing for word processing. The software is also open source, so users with a spot more technical skill can use the Immersive Motion system as an input for 3-D animation programs like Maya, or robotics control programs like ROS .
AikenLabs says they have a distributor lined up for the product, which they hope will enter the retail market in the third quarter of this year. They hope to offer two editions by that time. One, the desktop edition, will plug into desktops. The other, a mobile edition, will grant motion control to any mobile device through a Bluetooth connection.
While plenty of companies have displayed motion control devices at CES this year, all of the other systems have a dedicated function, such as operating a TV or playing a specific gaming system. By letting the user define the function of the controller, AikenLabs has produced a product with wide open uses for both basic consumers and hackers alike.