Friday, December 21, 2007

How gyro for mobiles can come to real use

Accelerometers, along with a number of other hyped innovations (such as haptics, augmented reality and the like), is quickly finding their way into mobile phones. At present the most common usage scenarios deals with camera stabilization, image rotation and some, maybe not so well thought through, ways of controlling your media player or user interface, is what has been seen in the market.

On the iPhone and on the Sony Ericsson W910 there has been some attempts at gaming. Sony Ericsson built in game Marble Madness, which probably will have several people turning their heads at you as you maneuver the game at the bus station. Over the next few years, it is predicted annual growth rates exceeding 30% for accelerometers. Mobile phones in particular will provide multi-axis accelerometers with interesting opportunities in menu navigation, gaming, image rotation, pedo-meters, GPS navigation and the like.

But why not take gaming one step further and use your mobile phone as an alternative Wii console? Using accelerometers together with Bluetooth or IR would enable you to play very interactive games in much the same way as with the Wii console. Of course, at present the gyro technology to be found in mobile phones is fairly limited, basically allowing you to navigate left/right and front to back, but as you can see from the video below there is still a lot one can do already. In this demo we have gyro enabled the classic game MonkeyBall, using the built in accelerometer in a Nokia phone to control and play the game.

It will be interesting to see when some of the movies from Nokia World will be realized in phones, when we can see some more "natural interaction" using the accelerometer.