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Looks like HP is working on an ambitious project which would result in a gaming handheld that combines sensor technology (made popular by the Wii) with GPS technology to allow for surroundings to be a backdrop for immersive gaming. And to top it all, the idea is being spun as educational (that is, to educators, shh… don’t tell anyone who thinks it’s just a game).
The gaming prototype is called “Mscape,” which was first featured in a not-yet-released commercial that showed “hipster gamers” hanging out in San Francisco while playing a game on Mscape that moves along based on triggers from the surrounding environment.
Rahul Sood, chief technology officer of HP’s gaming division, explained: “We want to get kids off the couch,” Mscape still needs plenty of work before it’s ready for prime time, though Sood mentioned he’s “really pleased with our progress so far.” The current tagline for the device: “Your world is the playing field. Get in the game.”
HP won’t confirm that it will be releasing its own device; another route would be for the company to license the technology so that certain handhelds could be turned into a Mscape gaming device.
HP is working with Futurelab to make a toolkit available (called “Create-A-Scape”) to educators for this technology to be more easily adopted. An early concept has a handheld with small sensors that a game organizer could lay out around a park or city. Those sensors would then be used to trigger events in the game.
I have to admit, it sounds really cool. Here’s hoping they can take it from prototype to reality. For more information, check out this video, visit the Create-A-Scape website, or check out a somewhat related article put out by the BBC (more about HP getting into gaming in general).