Microsoft 'Magic Wand' Coming To E3?

Posted: May 19 2009, 9:55am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 2:27pm CDT , in E3


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So, it turns out that back in 2007 Microsoft filed a patent application for a motion controller that they called a Magic Wand. The BBC says that the release of the patent has lead many to believe that Microsoft will be showing off a 'Wii-mote killer' to the world at E3 2009.

By now you've probably heard of the Microsoft ZCam, the new Xbox motion sensor device that is expected to see daylight for the first time at E3. The Magic Wand is designed to feed motion data to "a collection of sensors", which could be referring to the ZCam. However the ZCam is supposed to be an entire motion-sensing set-up all on its own, without any need for a controller.

It is possible that this Magic Wand was just an early idea for how to bring Motion Sensing technology to the Xbox. If so, Microsoft could be letting this information off now just to throw people off, so that the ZCam's release at E3 has a little more impact. However, there is something unique about the Wand's patent application that makes me think otherwise.

The Magic Wand is loaded with biometric sensors. Your fingerprints, the shape of your hand, your vein patterns, your palm, and your "grip configuration" can all be measured by the Wand. So can your facial, retinal, and iris features. This means that the Magic Wand, theoretically, has the ability to map a player's face. The only reason I can see for that would be to map and transfer a player's facial features onto an in-game avatar.

That would be a huge break-through in video game customization, possibly even a paradigm-shifting one. Every gamer and his aunt is going to want a piece of something like that. E3 is only a couple of weeks away, so we'll know then exactly what Microsoft has spent all of this time cooking up.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
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