Have you ever wished it was possible to play point-and-click style adventure games in real life–using real locations and real objects? (No? Am I the only one?) The Reading Glove is an amazing technological research project that might make “real life adventure games” a reality one day.
If reading a book or watching a movie in 3D isn’t immersive enough for you to get a kick out of mystery stories, The Reading Glove might be just what the doctor ordered. Comprised of a recommender (a display), objects and a glove, The Reading Glove system enables users to experience a whole new level of storytelling by being part of the story. Users pick up objects which then trigger a non-linear narrative that clues them in on what objects they have to pick up next in order to move the story forward. Think of it as a point and click adventure – except that you’ll be a character in the game as opposed to a person behind the screen.
But how does it work? The Reading Glove is an adaptive, tangible storytelling system consisting of a custom-built wearable RFID reader glove used to interact with a set of tagged objects and a tabletop display. Here’s what it looks like up close:
The Reading Glove is a collaborative project between Karen Tannenbaum and her husband Josh Tannenbaum, both PhD students of the School for Interactive Arts & Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University. Karen’s research interests include artificial intelligence, ubiquitous computing, tangible computing, interaction design, design philosophy and design fictions. (I don’t even know what some of those terms mean, but it sounds impressive!)
“We wanted to see what happened when we gave people a story that was embedded on real, physical objects that could be played with and moved around. Our original vision was an entire room that told a story when you explored it, responding to objects you touched or moved via light and sound responses — sort of like a haunted house, but intended to tell a specific narrative rather than just be spooky,” Tannenbaum explained in a recent interview with O’Reilly Media.
Here’s a video of Karen and her team demonstrating The Reading Glove with a sample mystery puzzle game about espionage and betrayal:
You gotta admit this is freaking cool, even if you’re not a fan of adventure games. If The Reading Glove technology were perfected and its capabilities realized by game developers and creative storytellers, just imagine the potential.