Making avatar navigation easier

Being a newbie is always a miserable experience. Novices in the virtual world have problems with controlling their avatars’ movements. But this is about to change. New technology from Japan could help make navigating online virtual worlds simpler by letting players use their own bodies.

The new position-tracking system, developed by Tokyo University, uses a mat printed with colorful codes and an ordinary Web camera to calculate the player's position in three dimensions. As the user moves, the patterns on the mat change from the camera's perspective and the images can be processed to calculate vertical distance and tilt. In other words: when the user turns left, the avatar turns left too; when the user squats, and the avatar does the same.

This is how a human body became a joystick.

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