Wii remote for a head tracking display

by Andy Polaine on January 3, 2008

Here’s an interesting video of inverting the Wiimote and infrared sensors to create a surprisingly realistic optical illusion for a single user:

A lot of interaction and GUI design is about optical illusion and willing suspension of disbelief, something usually talked about in fiction. It’s tempting to try and make things ‘for real’ sometimes, when actually a fake or a bit of smoke and mirrors works better.

Driving games aren’t really using realistic physics, they’re usually souped up to make things more exciting. Those aren’t really files and folders on your desktop there and this isn’t really a page. Of course you know that in the back of your mind, but you willingly ignore it in order to utilise the illusion.

When you try and make a metaphor real, you get all caught up in knots sometimes and lose the benefits of the abstracted version. Bumptop is a classic example of this – by mimicking a physical desktop you end up with all the same hassles, such as too little space for all the junk. I wrote more about this at length before.

What’s interesting about Johnny Lee’s approach above is that it’s so low-tech. Another example of the openness and cheapness of the Wiimote producing innovation. The other aspect is that it doesn’t really require much in the way of a headset, unlike other VR systems whose kit only serves to constantly break the suspension of disbelief.

Although plenty of research grant applications seem to thrive on making things much more complicated than they need to be, it is generally good to remember the KISS principle.

Can you think of some other good examples of these kinds of simple illusions in interface/interaction design?

[tags]interactivity, VR, Wii, tracking[/tags]

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pete January 4, 2008 at 1:49 am

That’s terrible geeky. I love it.

I saw these at a bookstore the other day:
http://www.eyethinkinc.com/store/rulers.html

Not interaction per se, but when you tilt it, it animates. And its a bit fancier than a lenticular device.

2 Andy Polaine January 4, 2008 at 11:18 am

Yes, lenticulars are nice. Tomato did a evolving identity for TV Asahi in Japan and had some lenticular images made for the front of the building.

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