Microsoft Surface Used as a Big Games Controller

Touchscreen gaming, like it or not, is soon going to be huge. Some would say that gaming on touchscreens is already big and here, and not in the way of the Nintendo DS, but the iPod touch, iPhone and all the Android phones that rely entirely on the touch screen for input.

What, then, will become of the control interfaces for more hardware games that require a controller or mouse and keyboard? Nobody knows yet, but University of Massachusetts Lowell Robotics Lab student Eric McCann seems to have an early idea of what it could be like.

Using Microsoft's experimental Surface table experiment, McCann hacked together a controller interface that uses both hands on the screen to control Microsoft Flight Simulator as well as Valve Software's Portal.

While it's not a perfect solution since your hands are still covering screen real estate, it's still a fascinating exercise that could point to how we someday may play hardcore games.

Check out the video demo below:

(via Kotaku.)

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  • codefuapprentice
    Not to sound negative, but to me, those demos seem like the wrong type of applications to run using that kind of control scheme. just watching portal and how the player was interacting with the game, looked very clunky, although it did look cool how you can interact with the game environment.

    Thats probably why so many games work well on the iPhone and iPad, i've yet to use an iPad/iPhone, but i can't imagine they'd be too far from the realms of the DS.
  • joneb
    Erm, the surface is a table so what this video isnt showing is this person bending over the table playing the game which to me doesnt seem very comfortable. With his hands covering the screen it doesnt seem condusive to enjoying the full scene as you can do sitting back comfortable looking ahead at your monitor with the controls in your hand, full screen on view. Touchscreen is not good for anything but maybe phones, tablets and maybe laptops. Microsoft Kinect is where its going to be at for computer use so you wont have to be sitting a foot away from your much larger monitor/TV screen. Im pretty sure there will be controllers for games that really benefit from a prop like guns for shooting games.

    I sit in a recliner chair right now, my feet up, with my light small keyboard on my lap propped up by a cushion and my mouse on small table next to me. I am 6 foot from my 32" tv screen and very comfortable. What sounds better? That or sitting a foot away from your big tv, its bright screen glaring in your face and your hands covering some of it?
  • jamie_macdonald
    Amongst all the normal negativity above (seems a tech site tradition at the moment) i would like to say this looks like an awesome progression.

    I love the way the controllers (visual) ones move with the hands (therefore saving getting in the way in a fixed position).. very handy

    Maybe for now it's not of much use ... but i can imagine the tabletops of the future and the tablets on your lap will make great use of technology like this...

    I think it all looks rather promising ... unlike the above ...who seems not to notice that if your hands are in the way, they are movable? (perhaps their limbs do not work? ^^).

    Good stuff ... now we just need the devices to progress!