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Sifteo - The Next-Gen Siftables: Serious Games As Thinking Toys

Via: Interactive Multimedia Technology Sifteo, the next-gen Siftables! (Tangible User Interfaces - TUIs for All)

On my prior post Serious Gaming With Thinking Toys, I had already addressed David Merrill superb works on Siftables, tiny computer blocks that interact with each other to make networks.

David Merrill is a grad student in the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT's Media Lab whose main interest at that time was the Siftables project, on which he works with Jeevan Kalanithi.

The good news is about the transformation of Siftables into a commercial version, Sifteo™ - A New Way To Play.

According to the website,Sifteo cubes are 1.5 inch computers with full-color displays that sense their motion, sense each other, and wirelessly connect to your computer. You, your friends, and your family can play an ever-growing array of interactive games that get your brain and body engaged. Sifteo’s initial collection of titles includes challenging Serious Games for adults, fun learning puzzles for kids, and games people can play together."

Sifteo A True Game System

Sifteo cubes are a brand new way to play games using wireless 1.5-inch blocks with full-color screens that respond to motion and start interacting with the player and each other, as soon as they are picked up and moved around. 

To play with Sifteo cubes, players first install Sifteos software (Mac, Windows) onto an Internet-connected computer and then buy games and apps from Sifteos online library which is accessible through the software. 

A USB wireless link enables games and apps to be downloaded onto the Sifteo cubes for play. For best performance, users should play within a few feet of the USB wireless link. In optimal conditions, the range may extend up to 20 feet.

According to the site, we can play up to 4 hours on a single charge - cubes turn off automatically when not in use. The included Sifteo charging dock can house and charge up to six cubes at once. There's a compartment for the USB link underneath.

Buy and download new games as they debut in the Sifteo app store.

“New sensing technologies have changed the face of gaming in just a few years,” said David Merrill, co-founder and president of Sifteo. “We believe that Sifteo cubes are the next leap forward in game play.”

Co-founders, David Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi first came up with the prototype for the cubes when studying human-computer interaction at the MIT Media Lab. During their research they realized that the way humans typically interact with physical objects i.e.: picking them up to examine and arrange them had been overlooked by legacy gaming companies. 

“Traditional game consoles have lost the tangible and interactive nature of classic tabletop games like Mahjong and dominoes, that bring people together,” said Jeevan Kalanithi, co-founder of Sifteo."

Sifteo has been selected as an honoree of the CES Innovations 2011 Design and Engineering Award in the Electronic Gaming Hardware category. The award recognizes the most innovative consumer electronics products in the industry's hottest product categories.

Sifteo cubes are expected to be widely available in the fall of 2011.