WiiSpray Teaser from Martin Lihs on Vimeo.

WiiSpray is Wiimote hack and piece of work by Martin Lihs – a student of my ex-colleagues over at the media faculty at the Bauhaus.

I like the addition of stencil usage – it takes it beyond the obvious paint program idea and you can also collaborate with other people (via the interwebs potentially). This part of the explanation is key:

“The actual hardware tool of the artist – the spraying can – remains constant in its shape and function and is a catalyst for this software supporting innovative computer interaction. The self-explanatory program requires no previous knowledge or reference of a user’s manual.”

(Via Daring Fireball, which probably means you have all seen it already. Sigh).

Wii remote for a head tracking display

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]



Following on from those thoughts about the Nintendo Wii, I noticed an Engadget re-blog of a Chicago Tribune story about folks in a retirement home getting into Wii Bowling. They’re having tournaments now in the home.

“People have no fear of picking up a remote control, but they’re hesitant to pick up a video game controller,” Llewelyn said [Beth Llewelyn, Nintendo’s senior director of corporate communications]. “So the idea was to make the controller look like a remote control with just a couple of buttons.”

One of the ‘old-timers’ said he used to “play a bit of Pacman” – sounds like a reformed addict.

So, although the graphics are apparently rubbish, it just goes to show that gameplay and interface can make all the difference.

(Image thieved from the Tribune article – and incidentally, this post’s title came from the image filename that someone there had wittily named it).