Extreme reality Extreme reality Extreme Reality's technology allows any 2D webcam to learn your movements and help you control games and software like DanceWall (Photo: Screenshot courtesy of Extreme Reality)

Interactive dance simulator for new generation of gamers

DanceWall Remix's motion-recognition technology may eventually expand to in-home physical therapy use.

Nearly two decades after the video game Dance Dance Revolution became an international sensation, easy-access technology has brought a new computer dance game to market for the modern age. And developers hope it can eventually be used to help people needing in-home physical therapy.

Developed by Extreme Reality, an Israeli-based tech company, DanceWall Remix is an interactive “rhythm and pose game” that, much like Nintendo's Wii, is controlled by a player's body movement via a motion-sensor camera. But unlike the Wii, which requires a dedicated console and controllers, DanceWall uses readily available webcams found in most PCs.

Silhouette dancer illustrates points of reference for touchless sensing and gesture recognition technology

(Photo: Extreme Reality)

“While DanceWall Remix and dancing games in general are extremely fun for consumers to play, until now motion games were a privilege to those purchasing expensive consoles and games,” said Osnat Lidor, Extreme Reality's director of marketing. “We've enabled motion games to be a product available to the masses so anyone can enjoy the experience on their own device, no matter the quality of the webcam.”

DanceWall players control the movement of in-game avatars and attempt to earn points by avoiding obstacles and matching poses not unlike those from Madonna's 1990 hit music video, “Vogue.”

Lidor said their specialized brand of “touchless sensing and gesture recognition” technology naturally lends itself to the gaming market, and added that Extreme Reality decided to first apply it to gaming because of the game industry's short game development cycles and the positive audience response.

"The gaming market is hungry for innovation and looking to replace current motion devices that have environmental or functionality restrictions,” Lidor said.

However, gaming is only the beginning of the potential applications and abilities of Extreme Reality's technology, which recognizes body movements and gestures. It's a tool that's been in development since 2005 and has 22 current patents.

“We love DanceWall and all of the games that our (software) has been integrated into, but we expect that our technology will be expanding into a few other verticals,” Lidor said. “For starters, health care is a vertical we're beginning to get involved with.”

Lidor said the technology could be used, for example, as a guide to in-home physical therapy, where the gesture recognition could be more exact than any therapist and provide lightning-fast feedback and motion analysis.

“Given that our technology has the ability to positively reform how outpatient care is facilitated in the health-care system, we're certain that our technology is much more than just a novelty,” Lidor said. “We truly believe in the future of motion technology and its viability for everyday use in multiple vertical markets."

In fact, recent market predictions estimate the market for the touchless sensing and gesture recognition expanding by 10 times between 2012 and 2020, to some $22 billion.

Lidor said developers will continue to advance their technology by adding new, innovative features and platforms, while continuing their venture into other vertical markets in hopes of making motion technology a common interface for other developers working on new applications.

“I think it goes without saying that we're super-passionate about motion technology and truly believe that we'll be seeing more everyday life use that incorporates motion,” Lidor said. “Motion-recognition technology is a reality and because our software development kit is integrated into mobile devices and PCs, it's something that the majority of the population has access to. How cool is that?”

In the meantime, Extreme Reality will continue to bank on the world's ceaseless love of getting its groove on.

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Interactive dance simulator for new generation of gamers
DanceWall Remix uses motion-recognition technology with potential applications for in-home physical therapy.