Head Tracking on the iPhone

For those of you who haven’t seen head-tracking displays, let me direct you to this video which describes the basics of what’s going on.

Basically, what’s shown on the screen updates in relation to the angle at which you view the screen. The end result turns the screen of your TV or iPhone into a window into a virtual world. It’s a virtual-virtual-reality. Awesome!

I would love to be playing an FPS on my iPhone, and tilting/turning the phone to shoot behind objects or tilt around corners. Racing games could be equally cool, letting you peer left or right to look into your rear view mirrors as you race through LA.

Technology-wise, the youtube video linked above requires IR sensors to track your head position in relation to the TV – but this is b/c the TV is stationary and your head is moving. With the iPhone, the effect can be the same by rotating the phone in your hands, and have your head by stationary. The iPhone’s accelerometer can (might?) be able to give all the necessary information to determine the phone’s orientation during the game.

If anyone knows if there’s any stub code for head-trackers written in objective-c, please leave a note in the comments. My gut tells me that if virtual-virtual-reality is ever to find its way onto the iPhone, it’s going to have to be written largely from scratch. Please someone prove me wrong!

iPhone OS 1.2 update

Sad iPhoneWhile I haven’t yet been accepted into the iPhone Developer program, I’m not at all happy with the reports that I’ve been hearing. iPhone Atlas is reporting that the beta iPhone OS 1.2 that you need to install to develop iPhone programs on the iPhone hardware will kill your phone’s ability to make calls. Presumably, once the non-beta upgrade is released in June, then the ability to make calls will be restored. One can only hope. I certainly don’t have the budget for a dedicated development iPhone.

Until June, it appears that developers either need to buy a dedicated development iPhone, or install the OS 1.2 on their personal iPhone and just do without making or taking any calls until June.

So far, I’m not at all happy with how Apple has been handling the iPhone development beta program. They’ve only accepted a lucky few out of a very large number of developers for the program, and now it seems that the OS 1.2 necessary for developing on the phone actually disables the phone’s primary function!

Needless to say, I’m not happy about how this is working out.

A Request to Apple regarding the iPhone SDK

Dear Apple,

I appreciate that I can set my own icon for my application, but here’s what I want: I want an easy and programmatic way to add the red circle indicators to my icon just like you have for the Mail and SMS apps.



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