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Natal Technology a Gift To the Disabled, Amputees 79

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-and-what-arms dept.
SlappingOysters writes "Natal could be capable of a lot more than was originally thought. Gameplayer has some information about how the technology will function in multiplayer, and goes on to reveal how it is intelligent enough to give full-bodied virtual movement to disabled gamers. The site had previously revealed that the Natal dev kits have been with developers for a couple of months, suggesting that the device may not be as far off as has been suggested by some media outlets."
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Natal Technology a Gift To the Disabled, Amputees

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:16AM (#28357879)

    First God gives these people a crippled body.

    Now Microsoft wants to give them a crippled video game system?!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anthropomorphization is an excellent propaganda technique, vaporware astroturfer.

  • And my dog (Score:5, Funny)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:19AM (#28357895)

    My cat keeps crushing my dog at video tennis. The gold fish like bowling.

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:24AM (#28357925) Homepage Journal

    More likely the game will refuse to move your virtual arm/leg just as your disabled body does.

    In other words: Microsoft's Natal Adds Insult To Injury.

    • If you were an amputee with a stump for a right arm, surely swinging that like it was a full arm would be enough for Natal to compute that you were making a shot at the ball.

      If you've got enough of a stump that Natal can detect the motion, then you've got enough of a stump to use a prosthetic. If you've got a prosthetic, you've already got enough ability to swing around a wii-mote. It doesn't offer anything that the Wii doesn't already offer disabled people, or that these guys don't already offer One Switch [oneswitch.org.uk] if you are more disabled then that. Sure, it'd be nice to have games made for this stuff, but I remain HIGHLY skeptical about this guy's speculation.

      • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @02:19AM (#28358187)

        Amputees develop coping mechanisms anyway; they do things in a different way, that's all. It's especially true with congenital amputees because they have never known the use of the body parts they miss, so they really aren't disabled at all. Most of them end up ditching whatever prosthetics their parents try to get them fitted with and do just fine without. See this for example [youtube.com]. It's trickier for people who become amputees later in life though.

        Amputees have been playing video games for as long as video games have existed, and quite frankly, I think that Microsoft effort is a just a feel-good, look-how-caring-we-are marketing stunt.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        If you've got a prosthetic, you've already got enough ability to swing around a wii-mote.

        You're dumb, and should stop right here. This is provably untrue.

        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          If you've got a prosthetic, you've already got enough ability to swing around a wii-mote.

          You're dumb, and should stop right here. This is provably untrue.

          I was going to ask for your evidence, but I wouldn't want to be accused of being dumb, so I guess you win. Congratulations! What prize would you like? Amused disdain, or open contempt?

    • by Jurily (900488)

      In other words: Microsoft's Natal Adds Insult To Injury.

      While keyboards are still clearly superior [datahand.com] if you only have one hand, how many other types of controllers are out there if you're disabled?

      Maybe the wiimote, but that requires you to wave it around too much.

  • by Zerth (26112) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:29AM (#28357967)

    Much like most game companies never bother to consider color blindness when picking their display schemes, very few will consider the disabled for motion control. Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri got a nice patch for that, though.

    And you probably know how many console games still force one layout or give you a few presets, despite it being relatively trivial to remap controllers these days. I imagine even fewer will allow you to change "swing your arm" to "twitch your nose" after spending weeks training the gesture recognition for arm movements.

    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @02:04AM (#28358109)

      To be honest, you can't ask companies to consider *all* disabilities. I agree that, for instance, a ramp should be mandatory when staircases are present to access a building, because in that case, wheelchair-bound people just cannot access the building on their own. But color blindness is hardly disabling, it's merely an inconvenience.

      A friend of mine is color blind, and his solution for hard-to-see computer images was to disconnect the red VGA pin and reconnected it in parallel with the green. His display is truly atrocious, but apparently much easier to see for him and he likes it that way. Anyway, just saying, a bit of solder and 5 minutes may take care of all problems with video game colors for color-blind people, so I don't think video game companies should bear that burden really.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MrMista_B (891430)

        "But color blindness is hardly disabling, it's merely an inconvenience."

        You're not color blind, are you?

        Yeah, thought not. I guess calling someone a hypocritical asshole is hardly insulting, it's merely an inconvenience. You hypocritical asshole.

        Smiley face! :)

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          Look, I'm not dissing color blind folks, I'm just saying, unless they tell you they're daltonians, you'd be hard-pressed to know. Sure they have trouble finding tasteful shirts or (in the case of my friend) judging the color of a steel part when tempering it, but it's not like they bump into things, need a white cane or buy books in braille. It's not disabling, it's inconvenient. Everybody has problems like that at some point in their lives.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Tell that to the guy who has to interpret two different display colors at 2am on a generator status panel that appear to be the same temper of gray to him. (Real situation, fixed by some 2 cent cellophane)

            My boss is partially color blind, and it's been an experience trying to rework monitoring systems / internal UI's so he can gain the same meaning from a display that everyone else can. You just don't think about things like that when it doesn't affect you

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Tell that to the guy who has to interpret two different display colors at 2am on a generator status panel that appear to be the same temper of gray to him. (Real situation, fixed by some 2 cent cellophane)

              So apparently, your company's special accommodation for its employee's disability is a candy wrapper and a bit of sticky tape. You prove my point.

              My boss is partially color blind, and it's been an experience trying to rework monitoring systems / internal UI's so he can gain the same meaning from a display

              • by Zeussy (868062) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @04:23AM (#28358865) Homepage
                I am very extremely inclined to agree with you, my brother is partially color blind (I am not sure to what extent as it has never been bad enough to ask about) and he is a qualified electrician and for him its just a mild inconvenience. My mum had a stroke about 15 years ago and lost all control and sensation of her right arm, and a significant amount from her right leg, but has enough control to still walk with a stick.
                Now my brother lives a normal life, living a normal job, with 2 kids, 2 cars, a wife and a house. Who occasionally has difficulty telling the difference between 2 different coloured wires. My mum has had to change the way she does things for every part of her life, from getting out of bed, having a shower, to cooking and eating her meals, to driving a car. So to all the parents of this post who say some lame shit like "Tell that to my boss who is colour blind" well I will fucking tell him! It is pale in comparison to what my mum has to deal with, which is a mild disability to a lot of other disabled people.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Fizzl (209397)

                My father was color blind. Apart from buying atrocious outfits on his own, it didn't affect much of his life.
                Only thing that bothered him, was that he wanted to enjoy visual arts like paintings and tried some oil painting himself.

          • by N1AK (864906)

            I'm just saying, unless they tell you they're daltonians, you'd be hard-pressed to know.

            And severe epilepsy isn't detectable unless someone is having an attack. I suppose that isn't a disability? Not being allowed to drive is just 'inconvenient'.

            Colour blindness [i]is[/i] a disability as it can limit the sufferers ability to do things. The fact that things can easily be designed not to affect them helps, but someone who is red/green colour blind (and no doubt other types) will still come across things in

            • That's a bit overly PC IMO. If I was colour blind I wouldn't mind admitting my eyesight was "inferior" in some respects. Saying "varying limitations" is just another way of saying that some people have bigger limitations, which is another way of saying inferior (at least in the area of vision) to those who have less limitations. Different words, exactly the same meaning.

              And he didn't say epilepsy was just inconvenient, he said colour blindness was inconvenient, and he's right. Trying to equate some mild def

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        I agree that, for instance, a ramp should be mandatory when staircases are present to access a building, because in that case, wheelchair-bound people just cannot access the building on their own.

        Wrong. Wheelchair-bound people unwilling to sacrifice a small part of their dignity cannot access the building on their own. It is totally possible for most of them to scoot up and down steps on their arse. We have decided that is below their dignity, and therefore we should force owners of small shops to put in ramps for their benefit, even those shop owners don't give one tenth of one shit about serving them and have the legal right to refuse to do business with them for any reason.

        Mandating wheelchair ra

        • Wrong. Wheelchair-bound people unwilling to sacrifice a small part of their dignity cannot access the building on their own. It is totally possible for most of them to scoot up and down steps on their arse.

          Assuming they do get off their wheelchair, and "scoot" up a few steps like you suggest, then what? Does their wheelchair magically do the same thing and then they continue on their journey into the building?

      • When the boss glows green, he reflects melee attacks. When the boss glows red, he reflects ranged attacks. When you're color blind, you just die. Clearly, I need to muck about with my own hardware solution rather than trouble a developer.
    • I thought it was pretty cool actually that WoW has a colorblind mode since being colorblind could really frig up your ability to play certain parts of that game.

      "Go get me 12 orange...oh...umm...I mean the blue flower looking...umm...you know what go kill 10 forest boars or something."

  • Now just why would they hype a product that's not even ready for market yet? Including using videos that are acknowledged to possibly not show real capabilities?

    Hey, it worked for Pen Windows, didn't it?

    Mart

    • You're smart. All the best, most successful companies never market anything until it's on the shelves.
      • by mvdwege (243851)

        And you're an idiot, because that was not remotely what I said. Here's a hint, peabrain: 'ready for market' does not equal 'on the shelves'.

        Mart

        • Why the animosity? I said you were smart. And you are indeed smart. All the best companies wait until their product is ready for the market before they start advertising it or building hype for it. The world is littered with the success of great, ingenious companies who never hype anything.

          You can't walk 5 feet without bumping into a successful company that never markets an idea or product as it's being developed!

  • This is bad??? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Brianech (791070) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @02:21AM (#28358201)
    For such a positive article, there are nothing but negative comments... Its good to see that technology made for gaming can in turn be used to help the disabled. For all the bad press games/gamers get, there is now something really promising that we can say came from gaming. Natal, if it turns out as well as they claim it will, is a impressive piece of technology. To reach a broad audience it will have to be affordable. Makes you wonder what the comments would be like had Sony, Apple, IBM or any other company for that matter had created it.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      You are 100% correct, and it makes me sad (though not surprised) to see you modded as Troll. I remember "back in the day" when Nintendo had their press release for a NES controller for the disabled, you moved the joystick with your chin, you held a tube in your mouth, and you blew on it for A and sucked on it for B or something (the jokes, as always, write themselves.) Nintendo was lauded as the great hero of the disabled, when in actuality they were spending a tiny piece of money (for them) for huge piles

    • by brkello (642429)
      Yeah, if this was something created by Nintendo you know everyone would be saying how wonderful it was. For some reason people get stupid about consoles and companies. They all want your money. If they do something good, praise them, if they do something bad, call them out. But hating on Natal just because it is made by MS is pretty retarded no matter how you look at it.
  • Sheesh, if this were a Google/Sun/Adobe/Gnu/whatever project, people would be ecstatic. I'm very skeptical this will completely live up to the hype, but this Natal is a pretty big deal even if it lives up to 50% of its hype... and even if it has the name Microsoft attached to it.
  • by polle404 (727386) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @03:22AM (#28358577)
    I know, I know, i actually read tfa...
    it's all speculation, by an Aussie reporter, that it MIGHT be beneficial to disabled gamers.
    according to tfa, he speculates, that since it's supposed to work with partially obscured body parts, eg. swinging an arm behind someones back, it might also be usable to amputees.

    While i applaud the idea, I'd like to see it in action before we proclaim it our new controller-less overlord.

    I'm still waiting for the generic, computer/tv/dvd/ect. peripheral for remote-less control of electronic equipment in my home.
  • Points to gameplayer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @03:38AM (#28358657)

    TFA has a picture of adult hands holding a tiny premature baby, with the caption

    Where we're going, we don't need hands

    There's something disturbing about not only the caption by itself, but the combination that is brilliant.

  • "Natal Technology a Gift To the Disabled, Amputees"

    GIFT
    Considering that "gift" pretty much presupposes there's no compensation given in return, and this is Micro$oft we're talking about, I'd imagine any serious editor would change that simply to BENEFIT.

    I know accusing /. editors of sloppy editing is like calling water wet, but hey.

  • You know, I really have to wonder, will Katawa Shoujo [wikipedia.org] have support for this?

  • Legit question here as I am probably missing something, but how would a controller requiring motion (Be it MS's, Sony's, or Nintendo's) be helpful to those with _limited_ mobility? Would'nt a controller with buttons be easier? I would think even hacking a controller to work with whatever physical disability you may have would be easier then something requiring say moving a leg if you don't have any? Quite curious.

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