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PlayStation motion controller Moves beyond video games

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Scientist at work.

Within days of its retail release, hackers were already finding some innovative ways to use Microsoft's Kinect motion controller. Now they're going to get their chance with the PlayStation Move. Sony has announced plans to make the software development application for Move available to students, researchers and enthusiasts later this spring. The company says it's hoping the action will lead to increased innovation in gaming and other fields.

"PlayStation Move's camera-plus-controller combination allows for the most precise and immersive gaming experiences," said John McCutchan, senior engineer, SCEA Developer Support. "Now we're formally taking that advanced technology ... and offering it to innovators outside of our traditional game development community so they can create their own applications to impact the world in exciting new ways."

Both Move and Kinect, with their advanced technology, have a potential that extends far beyond gaming. Sony postulates Move can be used to help with physical therapy. In fact, the company says it has already heard from researchers and professionals in the medical, academic and human-computer interaction fields who are interested in creating relevant applications utilizing Move. The decision to open up the peripheral follows on the heels
of Microsoft's announcement of a software development kit letting hobbyists hack

In that system's short lifespan, there have been a flood of innovative uses for the 3D camera and motion-sensing technology -- even before the company made it easy for hackers. One group of researchers, for instance, has found a way to use Kinect to teach
sign language
to deaf children. Work is also underway on a way to use Kinect as a cheap 3D scanner for engineers.

Not all of the hacks have been so serious, of course. One team put together a way to turn Kinect into a pinboard, while another has found a way to use it to play Street Fighter without a controller.


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