A new Kinect demo allows you to hold the raw forces of the universe in the palm of your hand. One caveat however, you can only use them on roughly drawn squares.
Razorfish, a developer that has done a lot of work recently for Microsoft’s touch screen/coffee table hybrid project, Surface, has created a Kinect version of its drawing program DaVinci, allowing users to finger paint with a lot less mess and a lot more physics.
DaVinci allows people to get artistic, and then apply forces like gravity and magnetism to the various shapes, dots and swirls in their picture. While the surface version was touch-based, the Kinect version detects open and closed hands, using them like a switch. The hands appear also appear on screen to give users a point of reference, something that Razorfish’s Steve Dawson thinks too many gestural interfaces lack. Dawson admits that Razorfish spent some time pretending to be Jedi moving objects around using the Force, and said that additional features – like the abilities to choke your enemies using just your mind, a la Darth Vader – would be added in the coming weeks.
The demo itself looks like a little limited, but it’s easy to see how much potential the control scheme has. Games like Auditorium or Crayon Physics would be great matches, or something entirely new that uses different forces to solve puzzles and achieve objectives. It’s not clear whether game design is something Razorfish wants to pursue, but the seeds are certainly there if it does.