Industry Chair at the Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology conference
Many years ago I met a woman from New York who complained that Palo Alto, my home town, was too clean. "I don't feel as if I can just throw a gum wrapper on the sidewalk," she said. That tells me more about you than about Palo Alto, I thought. I was just as glad she felt constrained not to litter in my town.
A lot of people say the same thing about Singapore, the home of the ACE Conference, but I liked it. It's tidy, orderly, and looks as if the people who live there care about it. I was expecting a crowded city of skyscrapers, something like Manhattan, but Singapore separates its skyscrapers in and interleaves them with lush tropical vegetation. This was my first visit there and I'm already looking forward to my next trip.
I had the honor to be selected as the industry chair of the SIGCHI Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology conference. I gave a keynote lecture on the future of the game industry, and I heard a lot of interesting research on computer-human interactions. Some of it was blue-sky and had no immediate commercial application, but nevertheless it was valuable experimentation. One of my favorite items was the ActiveCube (below), developed by the University of Osaka. The cubes snap together and transmit data among themselves and each one knows where it is with respect to the others. It's kind of kind of like intelligent Legos. A computer can read the collective group of blocks and display them on a screen in any environment you like, so as you rearrange the blocks, the resulting object appears on the screen.
The highlight of the conference, though, was a presentation about an electronic game board that can reconfigure itself for any game. The board itself is an LCD display. It which where each piece is and what it represents, so if you move a piece, it knows that it has moved. Someday it may not be necessary to buy a different board for each game; you'll buy just one and the board will display the game you want.
I'm hoping to go back to Singapore for some teaching or consulting in the near future.