Awesome new Motion Controller may just kill the Nintendo Wii

motus corporation
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.
Motus Darwin ControllerLooking 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

  • Wii Finder

    April 27, 2008 at 10:02 pm Reply

    Yes i agree, the Nintendo Wii has paved the road with some great potential that future developments and Wii immitators will only compete to better the gaming world.

  • Cameron

    February 8, 2008 at 12:17 am Reply

    It will be interesting to See what all the companies do with their new consoles, now that the Wii has really taken off. I own a Wii and especially enjoy the IR aiming functionality, but the one flaw is like it says, it can’t measure extremely slight/small movements (hard to putt in Wii Sports Golf sometimes) – not really on the ID topic, but Smash Bros awaits – traditional gaming is still just as fun…

  • Jim Rait

    February 8, 2008 at 12:08 am Reply

    I remember visiting the now defunct Medialab Europe premises in Dublin, early 2003, to look at their research demonstrations., including playing football with a computer opponent… reliant on motion sensors. There was also a Zen game that sensed your nervous state and worked better when you were calm.. helping to combat hyperactivity in children. The challenge at M LE was bridging between inventive demos and real products. the big sponsors seemed to be too blinkered or risk-averse to act on the possibilities and the small companies couldn’t afford to join… bringing to mind Michael Schrage’s assertion “Innovation = Reaction to the Prototype”.
    See also the similar innovation barrier problem here
    It seems this product is managing to ignore barriers and enabling the art of possibility!

  • cybrpnk

    February 7, 2008 at 9:10 am Reply

    ps…check out a sony effort heading out to the ps3 called WipEout HD, rumour has it that it is full sixaxis enabled allowing gamers to race anti-gravity aircraft with added ability to hopefully control pitch, roll and yaw using the sixaxis…my sole reason for turning to the sony darkside…

  • cybrpnk

    February 7, 2008 at 9:08 am Reply

    cool…looks extremely promising
    i have to admit…the nintendo wii did bring about the next-generation in how games can be played…but correct me if i’m wrong, the sixaxis i believe is just as revolutionary.
    if sony were to make a stick-shaped controller, voila, we have an instant sony wii…
    i have played some games with the sixaxis and the wii and i have to admit, the sixaxis is a lot more forgiving…plus the lack of a sensor strip means you will never get out of range and can play from fairly long ranges across the room…
    as for motus being too much like nintendo’s wii child??? make teh controller a nice dark grey maybe and implement an analogue nub instead of a cross bar directional button???
    all in all, the accuracy of it all sounds really cool though…evolving upon the wii’s concept and taking it a lot further…being a golf player, this could only mean heaven, playing golf games from the comfort of your own home…:)

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