“The most thrilling nose-controlled game ever”: The potential of Apple’s TrueDepth camera is finally realised
The TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X may be handy for unlocking your screen or authorising payments, but there’s been a lack of nostril-based laser shooting on Apple’s facial-recognition system…until now.
Brad Dwyer’s Nose Zone leverages the newest iPhone’s 3D camera sensor for a simple targeting game. As the app description reads: “Nose Zone makes your face the controller. Destroy the targets by pointing at them with your nose!”
The game, which looks like a blend between Atari’s Missile Command and a neurological eye exam, claims to be “the most thrilling nose-controlled game ever”. Those are pretty high stakes. Let’s not forget Nose Goes, with its simple rules of “whoever puts their hand on their nose last, loses.”
It’s not exactly nose-controlled, but Gooey Louie is another nose-based classic. Can you pull snot from your nose with an iPhone X TrueDepth camera? Actually, I don’t want to know.
Dwyer’s game is an early foray into facial-recognition gameplay, and it’ll be interesting to see where the technique goes from here. There’s certainly scope for the nascent arena of AR titles to hoist the hardware into something imaginative. Many AR apps currently focus on pointing the camera outwards, towards some illusory map or structure. Perhaps TrueDepth will lead to more games build around our own faces.
All of this will hinge on a wider adoption of the technology. If a developer is looking to make money from a game, they probably don’t want to base it on a system that only exists on a very expensive smartphone. If you download Nose Zone without an iPhone X, for example, you’re told that the device is unsupported, and nudged towards either sharing the game or upgrading your handset.
In other TrueDepth news, it emerged today Apple has invested $390 million in optical communication component manufacturer Finisar – which produces the tech that goes into Face ID. The money comes as part of Apple’s $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund, set up to support American manufacturers, and is being given to Finisar to increase R&D in production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs).
These lasers are an important part of Apple’s depth-sensing systems, powering everything from Animojis and Portrait mode selfies. The investment comes as a strong indication that Apple is planning to press TrueDepth as a central part of its future hardware.