WiiHorse? WiiBike? We Like.

Word of wacky new peripherals coming for the Nintendo Wii.

1 min read

Ah, the first swing of Wii tennis - hard to forget that giddy  feeling, eh?  The Wii motion sensing remote ushered in a new era for gaming, opening up the market for wannabe players who long considered themselves all thumbs. Now with word of Microsoft's motion-sensing Project Natal camera grabbing headlines, Nintendo seems to be on a new kick - wacky peripherals.

Lots of rumors this week about patents and slides that show both an inflatable beanbag style Wii controller (for horseback riding games) and a cycling/pedaling controller too.  These would join the Wii balance board (already powering hits like Wii Fit), the Wii wheel (for racing), and the Wii Light Gun (Resident Evil) – and of course all that Rock Band gear too.

So this begs the question – how much plastic can we have cluttering our living rooms?   To me, there’s a limit, and this is a boon for Project Natal, which does away with peripherals entirely.  Then again, there’s something nice and solid about a lifelike controller, something you can put your hands – or feet – on.   Nintendo should focus less on the gimmicky add-ons and more on the cool games that can exploit the existing hardware. 

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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