Pinoccio is a new Internet of Things
-friendly microcontroller designed to get home-brew electronics projects talking to the internet and, usefully, each other. Pinoccios come with or without Wi-Fi capability, but can wirelessly natter away with each other by low-power radio using mesh networking. And an in-built battery untethers your projects (hence the name, d'uh). Think of these as Arduino's roaming gossipy cousins, then.
After a fruitless search for a digital controller/instrument that would allow him to get closer to his audience, San Francisco digital music performer Omni Infinity decided to design and build his own. The guitar-shaped SPACEBASS:01 prototype can house a smartphone placed in the central "spaceport" for wireless touchscreen control of music and art software on a remote computer. There's another port above that can host a variety of third party MIDI modules, a button-packed 12-fret neck and a virtual whammy bar.
Games have come a long way since the days of Pong and its knob controller. These days, some computer users aren't content even with a 101 key keyboard and mouse combo. This has led to input devices that attempt to bring feet into the mix, such as the SoftStep KeyWorx
and Thanko USB Foot Switch
. The latest foot-centric input device to catch our eye comes from Canada-based Stelulu Technology, whose Stinky Footboard is aimed at gamers for whom two hands just aren't enough.
As smartphones become more akin to pocket-laptops, the evolution of mobile gaming is also forging ahead, going far beyond such classics as Tetris
. Yet touch screen control for complex gaming is inhibitive, and sometimes it’s just downright clumsy. XOPAD, a USB-based controller for Android phones, is looking to join a growing list of products that turn your smartphone into a fully-fledged hand-held gaming machine. The creators are also aiming to make it open-source for developers.
In just a few short years, mobile gaming has evolved from Doodle Jump
to Game of the Year The Walking Dead
. But one potential obstacle remains: touch screen controls. Many control pad accessories (like iControlPad
) already exist, but they require you to lug around an extra accessory. Two current Kickstarter projects want to solve that problem with iPhone control pads that double as cases.
The success of the touchscreen device as a gaming platform shows that physical buttons are not required
to offer a compelling user experience. Still, sometimes physical tactility and feedback would indeed be a welcome addition, and it is for just such occasions that the PhoneJoy Play has been developed, offering an adjustable gamepad which sports near-universal support for iOS, Android, and desktop computers.
The Wii U's bread and butter is its GamePad. Nintendo thrives on unique novelties, and the tablet-like controller fits the bill. One of its biggest perks is that it lets you play your games without a TV. If you were hoping to do that with your old Wii games, though, think again.
Moving around the stage while performing is a whole lot easier with instruments such as the Vortex
than with something like the mighty JUPITER-80
. Innovations like Onyx Ashanti's Beatjazz hands
or the Air Piano
from Omer Yosha go even further, by making movement a vital part of the music creation process. Such is the case with the Dodecaudion from Polish art and design group panGenerator. When a performer places a hand, foot, head or other part of the body in front of any of its 12 IR-sensor-packing faces, wirelessly-linked processing hardware generates pre-programmed audio or visuals.
The Xbox 360 has, in my opinion, the best video game controller going around. But that doesn't mean it can't be improved upon. That's just what Evil Controllers is attempting with a new set of mods that are designed to make the Xbox 360 controller more comfortable and integrates a rechargeable battery that should keep you playing longer.
Video game developers are always looking for new ways to give players a more immersive experience. But with several motion-controlled systems widely available and a viable virtual reality headset
in the works, what else could be done to make games seem more realistic? Sony may have an unexpected answer with a recent patent that describes a controller that changes temperature between hot and cold to match in-game actions. With the controller giving "temperature feedback," the idea is that players would be able to more closely feel what their character feels, from getting hit with a fireball to traveling through a blizzard.