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Pervasive Human-Centric Computing

Being able to play a computer game simply by issuing verbal instructions or physical gestures looks set to become reality rather than simply the stuff of science fiction films as SMA’s students have found a way to free the gaming experience from the confines of the desk.

Under the “Pervasive Human-Centric Computing” programme, a group of 30 Computer Science S.M. students developed advanced interface uses for handheld devices.

Whereas the traditional user interface employs the use of joystick, mouse or keyboard, users of this new technology can control the game by simply making physical movements, joggling their pocket PCs or even speaking directly to their device.

Mr Donny Soh, one of the top SMA Masters students and member of the team, added, “This game is different. You get to interact very physically with the game, you get to move about to control the characters. That’s bringing the person back to the game itself...”

The success of this project also reiterates the success of interactive distance learning programmes such as SMA and the many roles that advanced technology can play in bringing people together. Professor Cham Tat Jen, a Fellow and Associate Professor of School of Computer Engineering at NTU, pointed out that with the current internet applications and technologies, it was absolutely possible for gamers using pocket PCs to pit their gaming skills against other gamers from different geographical locations.

Professor Cham said, “Currently, they are just putting these technologies into games... but what gives them sense is how these technologies can be used in other kind of applications, like eldercare, retail and smart homes.”

Using verbal instructions to operate the lights or automating the lights such that they light up by themselves once someone enters a room can soon become reality. Such advanced technology can also be applied to the area of data collection in the retail sector. For example, supermarkets can make use of this technology to record the time each customer spends inside their premises and even calculate the time customers spend in each department.

In total, nine multi-networked games were developed by Donny and his group members, who were from a diversity of countries including Singapore, India, China and the United States.

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