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VR Interfaces: Motus Darwin


Overview of Motus Darwin
Motus are moving in on the motion sensing capabilities of 3D pointers for home PCs. Inspired by the Nintendo Wii?s popularity, their Motus Darwin, a mainstream 3D pointer, takes a slightly different approach.

The company also produce the iClub, a golf-enhancement, outdoor 3D pointer, that is typically used far, far away from PCs, so they do know how to make a self-sufficient unit. The Darwin is in essence, an iClub with the capability to stream data back to the PC in real-time, instead of simply storing it for later download.

Designed to resemble a samurai sword, the Darwin uses internal gyroscopes and accelerometers to track its own position and acceleration through 3D space, reporting that information to the PC every 30 milliseconds, or 33 times a second. This is swifter than the human ability to perceive delay.

The gyroscope-accelerometer technique is not usually used on 3D pointers, because the sensors are inherently imprecise, and have a wide error margin. Motus seems to have gotten round the problem with multiple redundant sensors inside the unit, and utilising extensive hardware-based code to interpret the ?true? reading from them.

But Motus chairman Satayan Mahajan stated the Darwin was developed as dedicated 3D pointers, and motion controllers for home use like the Wii and Sixaxis, do not provide a very realistic experience.

Motus found a problem with the Wii. It harmed the ability of golfers to play golf, because they grew accustomed to practising with the Wii-mote, when they could not play the actual game. Unfortunately, the Wii-mote does not feel like a golf club, so when they went back to using normal clubs, their swing was not the same.

Where players often operate the Wii Remote one-handed in sports games, Mahajan desires the Darwin to feel more realistic, whether they user is playing golf, or any other activity ? it feels like the device being simulated, not like a TV remote.

Darwin will retail for US$79-$99 (?40-?50) when it goes on sale, 4th quarter 2008.

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