Awesome new Motion Controller may just kill the Nintendo Wii
Motus Games, a subsidiary of Motus Corporation, has developed the Darwin Controller of which they tout is the future of Motion Based Entertainment, and the natural evolution of the Wii Controller. Using their R&D experience in developing motion sensing gear used in Golf and Medial applications, the Darwin Controller is apparently a lot more refined in the sensing of your motion thus giving you true 6 degrees of freedom. CEO Mahajan describes the technology:
The Darwin, which was designed to resemble a samurai sword, has its roots in specialized golfing hardware called iClub, also made by Motus. Mahajan says the iClub was designed to help serious golfers improve their swings by sensing and analyzing minute details of the motion. Mahajan hopes to continue this verisimilitude with the Darwin. Where players often operate the Wii Remote one-handed in sports games, Mahajan wants the Darwin to feel more realistic, allowing players of a golf game, for example, to put two hands on the remote and swing it like a real golf club. “The Wii is a great device,” he says. “But they’re going from very simple applications, and trying to become more complex and capture more complex motion. We’ve gone from this very complex [process of] capturing very precise motions of the human body to something that’s actually less complex.”
The Darwin uses gyroscopes and accelerometers that measures absolute location with respect to the earth’s magnetic north. This makes the Darwin a lot more independent to the location of screen, unlike the Wii controller which has, in addition to its motion sensors, to reference that infra-red horizontal strip located on the top or bottom of your screen.
Looking a lot more like a handle of a “light sabre” or sword, the Darwin probably feels a lot more comfortable to hold that the Wii’s squarish profile. Logically this makes holding your simulated tennis racquet or, in my case, the golf club a lot more natural. Best of all it can be used on non-Nintendo game systems including the PC. Unfortunately though the typology of the Darwin’s buttons looks very similar to that of the Wii remote. Both the “A” action button and the cross bar control look very familiar. I think in terms of the Industrial Design detailing there is a lot of opportunity to do something more interesting and perhaps more haptic. Perhaps they are using the Wii controller as a reference, but by doing this, this product might be perceived as an accessory instead of a superior replacement.
This is also an example of a great product that can be used as part of a “challenger” marketing strategy which is meant to beat the current leader, Nintendo, by making a superior product. By leveraging on the market leader’s success (i.e. Nintendo Wii), the “challenger” strategy aims not to do it all, but to focus instead on one or two weak elements and create a better product targeted to specialist players who need a “…realistic controller so that it helps, rather than harms, real-life game play…”
Success of this product has to do with how well it integrates with the new or existing software library, but if this remote can accurately measure a position in space, I think they have got it quite a good head start compared to say Sony’s PS3 Sixaxis controller. They are looking for it to be launched in Q3 2008 just in time for Christmas.
Via: Technology Review