The Umoove Experience is a free iOS app that you can download from the App Store right now that will let you fly around a virtual landscape using just your face. That’s right, your face.
Israeli tech company Umoove is responsible for the game, which is little more than a tech demo for their facial tracking software that lets people interact with technology without using their fingers. It was initially developed to help people with ALS (the disease Stephen Hawking has), but it also proved to have
more lucrative applications in other spheres.
The Umoove Experience takes a bit of practice to get the game’s character flying where you want him to go, but once you have the hang of it, it’s actually very enjoyable. All you’re really doing is flying around and collecting potions that restore the energy that allows for your flight, but it demonstrates the accuracy of the technology really well.
Microsoft, for instance, was impressed enough by it that the company is now working with Umoove to integrate the technology into Windows 8, although the manner in which it is being used has not been made public yet.
What makes this tech so interesting is that it requires no special camera to work, instead using existing camera technology to work its magic, plus it makes use of advanced predictive algorithms to tell in advance which way you’re going to move, so that it uses less processing power and saves on battery use.
It’s not all that far off, either: Umoove’s marketing video (linked below) says that 2014 is the year Umoove will make its commercial debut in an as-yet-unannounced product. Hints in the video include flying virtual aircraft, operating a face-controlled map running on a tablet and the ability to manipulate 3D models, all using just your head/face.
Motion-sensing technology in the gaming sphere may not have a great track record so far, with quite a bit of hate being expressed by gamers for both technologies (see here and here), but if Umoove proves to be a genuinely useful tech that just works, the future could possibly hold first person shooters where shots follow your eyes and characters that move in the direction you’re looking, really opening up the possibilities for clever game developers to play with.
We can dream, right?