Here's a nice bit of good news for the day: Game Developers Conference officials are excited to announce that Limbitless Solutions, a U.S. nonprofit dedicated to providing children with affordable 3D-printed bionic limbs, will be exhibiting its tech alongside games built for it by University of Central Florida students at GDC 2018 in March!
Organizers have donated space in the GDC Play area, which will be set up in the north hall of the Moscone Convention Center March 21st through the 23rd. That's where GDC attendees can expect to find Limbitless showcasing some of its prosthetics tech -- and how games are being used to help kids learn to use those prosthetics.
Specifically, you'll be able to check out Magical Savior of Friends, a game that puts the player in the role of a customizable gnome-like character that uses elemental magical powers to fight the evil Sir Sneklesworth; a snake that has unfairly raised the rent on the frog inhabitants of his kingdom. By using a combination of various powers, each requiring the use of a different type of muscle flexing, the player can fight their way to Sir Sneklesworth and save their friends.
The game uses a proprietary calibration system to simulate an analog input from a single EMG sensor. This analog functionality of the sensor is intended to enhance the muscle control of children so they are prepared for the second generation of Limbitless arms, which will include individual articulated fingers, a rotating thumb, and working elbow joint.
Professors Ryan Buyssens, Peter Smith and Matt Dombrowski, and their team of undergraduate game development students from the School of Visual Art & Design (SVAD) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) have been working closely with Limbitless Solutions to develop training games like MSOF that teach children to use the Limbitless prosthetics before they receive them. The games use a combination of the electromyographic (EMG) sensor found in the actual prosthetic arm and a 3D printed game controller interfacing with the Unity-powered game.
In addition to MSOF, the team plans to show some of their various other EMG-controlled prosthetic training games: S.M.A.S.H.(a Rampage-like game), Tootin' Pooches (a four-player soccer game with farting dogs in space) and Who Nose (a nose-picking simulator). There will also be hands on examples of the prosthetic arm technology from Limbitless for anyone to try.
It promises to be a fantastic display, so make sure you make time to stop by while you're at GDC next month!
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