So sci-fi author Neal Stephenson’s CLANG has been put on ice, the promised medieval fighting game running out of cash and disappointing its many Kickstarter backers. Not a great situation, to be sure, but it did push one Australian engineer to come up with his own wireless sword-shaped controller.
Compelled by the idea of converting a real weapon into a virtual one, Victoria-based Paul Taylor headed to eBay and spent “less than $100” on parts, including Arduino microcontrollers, wireless modules and batteries. He also picked up a wooden katana, or “bokken”, on which he’d strap all these components.
It didn’t take long for Taylor to get data transmitting from the sword to his PC, where he could piece together code to handle the inputs. Eventually he had to place a second sensor on the tip of the blade to get accurate readouts, but the results appear to have been worth it, as you can see from the video below (with included random costume changes):
There’s a bit of lag between the real sword’s motions and the virtual blade’s, but Taylor says it’s more responsive than Kinect, averaging 107-140ms, compared to Kinect’s 150-500ms.
Confident he’s onto something (and perhaps hoping to grab the attention of those disappointed with CLANG‘s lack of, well, anything), Taylor’s popped his project onto Kickstarter, where he’s looking to raise $20,000 to commercialise his idea.