Friday, March 28, 2008

Trade Show and Demo Hall of Shame

PC World did an article about famous demo disasters which appears on washingtonpost.com. It's called "The Trade Show and Demo Hall of Shame". And guess who is the first inductee:

Can a failed mind-control demo be embarrassing? After all, we're talking about some seriously complicated technology here. During this year's Game Developers' Conference, Emotiv Systemsdemonstrated its Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset, which reads brain impulses and translates what the wearer is thinking about into on-screen game movements. That's what the press release said, anyway.

The demo started off smoothly enough, as the headset wearer made a giant animated head on the screen mimic his real-life facial expressions. But things went awry when the wearer was asked to make an on-screen object disappear, and again when the handlers from Emotiv tried to put EPOC through its paces in an actual game. The device didn't do much of anything.

What's more, Emotiv's wireless game controller, bundled with the headset,   couldn't control the in-game action. Emotiv game developer Zachary Drake described the scene as "demo hell," and Emotiv CEO Nam Do later explained that the 2.4-GHz wireless A/V system at the show interfered with the headset. (According to GDC showgoers,including PC World's Darren Gladstone, the mind-control headset performed nicely at Emotiv's booth.)

Regrettably, no video footage of the doomed demo has appeared anywhere on the Web. Maybe that's just a   stroke of luck for Emotiv Systems--or   maybe the whole company donned EPOC headsets and willed all evidence of the disastrous demo to disappear.

Um....I guess Tim Moynihan of PC World doesn't read Internal Monologue or Joystiq.

My fame goes ever onward...

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