Total Immersion, a company dedicated to the niche but growing world of augmented reality technology, has created a new proof-of-concept racing game demo that puts you in the driver’s seat. Among the advanced technology is the ability to use a webcam to implant a player’s face in the game, complete with a racing helmet behind the wheel. And speaking of the wheel, gamers don’t need a special controller; they can just hold up anything shaped like a steering wheel.
The new demo is going on display at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week, a place where devs get to show off their emerging projects. On paper, the kind of stuff Total Immersion is showing off has been done before. But because the technology hasn’t fully evolved yet, stuff like implanting a player’s face in a game has largely been used for comedic or exaggerated effect. Total Immersion has sophisticated facial recognition mechanisms that strive to make it a much more realistic experience than an amusing one.
Augmented reality has swelled in popularity recently, not only because of increases in technology like Total Immersion is offering, but because of the ubiquitous nature of digital cameras built into electronics these days. The 3DS, the PlayStation Vita, every smartphone, the Xbox 360 Kinect, and the PlayStation Move – they can all easily use real-life content. After being founded in 1999, Total Immersion is now turning a profit and raised $12 million in 2010.