Can you ‘shake the pepper’ with Natal?

By Kate

Wouldn’t you know that just as I was about to start translating/transcribing another VR interview about, I came across a video of Microsoft’s Natal project.

Launched yesterday, the project’s already generating buzz. I’ve read some critical speculation in the blogosphere about whether the scenarios shown in the video are feasible or not. What do you think?

YouTube Preview Image journalist Lev Grossman explains how Natal works:

What they came up with is a kind of self-contained module that you add onto your Xbox 360. It has a video camera in it that tracks where your body is and what you’re doing with it. It also has a monochrome camera (it works with infrared) that reads depth — how far away your body and its component parts are — and a highly specialized microphone that can pick up voice commands. Along with all this hardware, it’s got a ton of software that tells the Xbox how to find your body’s various joints (it tracks 48 of them), how to keep track of multiple players at the same time, how to tell your Hawaiian shirt apart from the colorful wallpaper behind you, and so on. Microsoft even did an acoustic study of living rooms, so Project Natal can tell when you’re talking, when your buddies are talking and when somebody in the game is talking, so it knows whom to take voice commands from.

I can’t help but think about my chat with Christophe Chartier published in Equipping Our VR Future. He said:

If we want the development of VR equipment to be really mainstream the technology must be transparent. So forget set-ups including specialized gloves and headsets, which are today’s emblems of virtual reality equipment. In my opinion they won’t permit the mass deployment of VR technology. The set-up should integrate with the home environment, and for this we need equipment that’s more and more intelligent.

I think Natal will bring us a step closer. Yet it’s not quite in line with David Nahon’s description that VR is about,

Sensing and acting, perceiving and acting in the virtual world with your body.

After all, you’re sensing and perceiving in your living room, no matter how large the screen.

I’d certainly like to try it out though. ‘Beats my Intellivision days! Although I’m not sure I could play BurgerTime on Natal. Shake that pepper!



The New General Motors

By Kate

It’s all over the news. I saw a TV report about it last night, and listened to more today while driving into work.

This morning General Motors is filing for bankruptcy!

According to a Detroit News article:

GM, the storied 100-year-old Detroit automaker that once was the world’s largest company, was forced into bankruptcy by the administration after losing $88 billion since 2005. The company ran out of money in late 2008 before being rescued by $13.4 billion in government loans in the waning days of the Bush administration.

“Today will rank as another historic day for the company — the end of an old General Motors and the beginning of a new one,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

I’m intrigued. What will this new General Motors look like?

What innovations will bridge the new General Motors into our future?



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Community Mobility

By Kate

The Developer Conference is coming up and so I went to see the guy at Dassault Systèmes putting it together, Fred Vacher. Collaboration, partnerships and communities are important to DS, and since the event encapsulates all three, I wanted to get Fred’s perspective on:

  1. What are the ingredients to a successful community strategy?
  2. What does DS do to foster mutual success for DevCon community collaboration?
  3. What will the DevCon community look like in five years?

Here goes . . .

Q1 : What are the ingredients for a successful community strategy ?

The main ingredient is content. Shared interest in the content makes it more valuable and encourages people to interact with others and contribute more. It’s also important to make sure that people can interact on an open platform.

Q2: What does Dassault Systèmes do to foster mutual success for DevCon community collaboration?

Around ten years ago we created a partner ecosystem of companies developing applications on top of our platform. It was really a one-to-one relationship with Dassault Systèmes and its partners. We began to animate this community with physical conferences so developers could meet each other as well as people from Dassault Systèmes on a regular basis.

Now in addition to Devcon where we annually gather, we’ve put in place a set of online tools to foster continued interaction throughout the year. We have an open strategy that includes a ‘PLM Marketplace’ LinkedIn group for our partners to interact. We have PLM Marketplace , which is our online business platform for connecting software, technology and services partners with our channel partners and VARs so that they can do business. Plus there’s some new stuff in store coming soon.

Q3: What will the DevCon communities look like in 2-5 years?

I think the key element is mobility. Time being very important, people will need to interact fast with an access to their community no matter where they are. That’s something key that’s already coming I’d say. Then as communities grow I’m sure we’ll find things that we’ve never imagined. And I guess the value of social networks around PLM will really give a new set of experiences and value that we can’t imagine today. Mixing and matching will develop a lot of value.

Sounds good, Fred. I look forward to mingling with the DevCon community at the event this June! Live blogging of course, and hopefully I’ll be able to report first-hand about some of the Serious Gaming action. ;-)



Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.