Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Comments on today's testing at NYISE
Testing went very well today, I think. We are learning a lot from watching these kids, who have been incredibly nice and cooperative. It will be easy to get what we need from them, and I believe that we will be able to return later and see how they like the finished product. That's doubly true if we leave the finished system up there for them to use; it will be a great PR thing, maybe we can get news crews up there watching them play with it, if we make it enough like a game. It will be a really cool addition to their rec room. From speaking with the staff, it looks like there are a bunch of additional behaviors they would like us to train students on, including maintaining a low arc, etc. Once we have the horizontal movement of the cane under control, we should move into other kinds of motion capture.
Based on what I saw today, I believe that we are justified in continuing to develop this idea as a commercial product. We need to build a very open-ended framework in this early version of the software so that it will be easy to add subsequent modules. We also have to start to prepare our wiiCane curricula that will go along with the system. Gene and I spoke briefly today about that part of the project. I need to look at the schedule for the final five months of the project. We have to evaluate at the results of the tests and incorporate findings, leading up to a rapid product rollout, hopefully. I seriously think that we can begin selling these system at the end of Phase 2 (June 1, 2010). Grace is starting to do research on a better material and electrical couplings for the light track, and we also need to redesign the belt, but those things can realistically get done quickly. I know it is just the first day of testing, but considering the ease with which most of the students took to it, I am convinced that the basic principles are sound, so we should proceed full blast.
As you can see, I am very upbeat about today, and I think we should be very encouraged about the usefulness and practicality of wiiCane. I also just had an idea for my fencing application: There should be an enormous projection screen at the end of the course where we can display images from a ceiling mounted projector about 15 feet away. There could be huge image on the wall that you would face while sword fighting with a virtual opponent...
I will send a report on events tomorrow. I spoke to Zach about an hour ago, and he said that he has made the changes he needed to, including an on screen display of messages as they are played in the headphones. It looks like we will be ready to do cane movement tasks on Friday. I think that we should maybe have them just do a stationary cane movement task over and over like Gene and I discussed. That will allow us to really study their hand movements to see how serious the weight issue will be. BTW, the roller tips arrived today. They are perfect. I think they will neutralize the weight issue, as long as they are doing it on a nice smooth floor. the roller tip just slides over the pencil tip, so it looks like any slide on tip will work.