Blobo

Blobo

Background

Blobo is a new kind of game console, the size of a golf ball that uses PC or Mac as a display screen. The whole functioning of Blobo is based on physical movement: Blobo's doddering, swinging, squeezing, rotating... and when placed in a pocket, the player's movements such as running or jumping.

Technology

Blobo is a single, hand-held controller that contains all the associated sensor arrays, processors, memory and batteries that accurately replicate 3D motion, direction, force and duration. It is truly the next generation hand-held controller, fitting neatly in the palm of your hand and delivering the ultimate intuitive gaming experience:

  • A soft, squeezable silicone ball
  • 41 mm diameter
  • 27g weight

Blobo-controller could also enable mobile gaming using Bluetooth as the connection medium, which is compatible with PC and MAC.

“Blobo has advanced Gesture Recognition (GR) software. Patented Motion Control (MC) technology delivers accurate motion detection through advanced high-resolution motion, magnetic field and pressure sensors. The combination of this GR and MC technology makes very accurate motion mapping platform.

  • Blobo senses change in pressure better than an airplane (0.001 Bar)
  • Blobo senses 3D acceleration better than an F1 car (0.001G); and
  • Blobo senses changes in the magnetic field better than a digital compass to 0.1 of a degree

Unlike other motion-controlled gaming devices, you really do have to run and jump to make your avatar do the same. Knowing the height of the player, means that blobo can determine the correct height a player should be lifting their legs as well as the drop in height when they bend down. This is a key differentiator from existing platforms where you can play by simply sitting down and ‘shaking’ the controller.

Blobo is activated by internal pressure change detected through a squeeze or movement. The rechargeable 250mAh battery lasts for 6-8 hours of continuous play or about a week when used as a pedometer.”

Source: http://www.blobo.co.uk/category_s/45.htm

Important feature for game developers is that blobo game development can be done using the Blobo software development kit (SDK) which is available for individual developers and companies.”

Source: www.blobo.co.uk

Usability Test

Participant

The test was conducted with two adults who do not have much gaming background.

Setup and Tasks

Blobo was tested with Fun&Fit PC-game (software bundle), which is included in the package. Setup with a PC laptop and its Bluetooth was easy. The operating range seemed to be sufficient (several meters) at least to see player’s avatar on a normal sized PC screen.

Blobo

Results

First impressions of the Blobo-ball were positive. The ball is quite sensitive and its capability to transfer positions and movements to a PC is amazingly accurate. However, game characters were heavily stylized and arm/leg motions on the screen were pretty much indicative. Though, the result of the game (points, goals etc.) was reflecting players’ skills to move Blobo controller as advised.

Results 

The table above describes different styles to use Blobo-ball as a game controller. 

General Perceived Issues

Our adult test people tend “to cheat” on running and jumping tasks by holding and moving the Blobo-ball in their hand instead of putting it into their pocket. While you put the ball in your pocket the game works ok but it is much harder physical exercise.

We would say that big part of these games is that moving, running and jumping front of the PC-screen is funny looking and entertaining, especially to fellow players. Also game characters represent funny cartoon style.

Summary

Our testers think that the Blobo-controller is capable to more precise use – What is seen on setup/calibration screen but these games do not fully use this potential.

Games with accurate measuring and movement controls for adults and physical training would be more motivating for adults.  It could be that fitness oriented games, like new “Fitness dream”, would separate Blobo from its competitors and utilise its unique features better.

However, it feels like a miracle “how this little ball knows so well what is happening”. Playing with it was fun, entertaining and different, compared with other controllers