Logitech launch PowerShell Controller for iPhone


As the old adage goes, the best camera is the one you have on you and the same apparently applies for handheld gaming. Whilst the negatives to be said for iPhone gaming are many and frequently stated, this doesn’t detract from the simple fact that iOS gaming is huge. 87% of iPhone and iPod touch users play games on their device. People really do want to play games on the device that the will almost always have on them. So you could write a whining forum post about sheeple who don’t know what’s best for them. Or you could try to make the iGaming experience the best possible.

Unsurprisingly Logitech have gone with the latter approach and have released the PowerShell Controller – bringing tactile gaming controls to the iPhone 5S and iPod touch (but weirdly not the 5C). This follows a similar release from PowerA – the Moga Ace Power. iOS7 was far from just a lick of fresh paint and on of Apple’s powerful under-the-hood tweaks was the addition of standardised game controller support. So expect to see a lot more of these – maybe even one from Apple, although they mostly leave peripherals to the legions of experts these days. It also means it’s a plug and play system with no drivers, apps or installation procedures.

Check out this official video of the PowerShell

The Powershell wraps around your iPhone and instantly converts the device into a familiar D-pad, shoulder trigger and face button configuration that will feel at home to button bashers across the globe (although lacking in the dual analogue controllers that are the staple of many modern classics). However, all of the buttons are pressure sensitive, which opens up a realm of possibility for more nuanced gaming. And as some who is terrified of opening WhatsApp for fear of what it will do to my battery, it’s great that the PowerShell packs at 1500 mAh battery to keep your phone usable after a bout of Double Dragon. Speaking of games, at the controller support is baked in to iOS7 the list of supported titles grows daily and feature popular hits such as Bastion , Fast & Furious 6: The Game, MetalStorm Aces, Galaxy On Fire 2 HD and Nitro.

The Logitech PowerShell Controller + Battery is available online today for pre-order on Logitech.com for £89.99.

QuNeo 3D: “The World’s Most Expensive Controller”


California-based tech developers Keith McMillen Instruments (KMI)  announced recently that they’d be unleashing the next generation of music software and hardware controllers for electronic musicians, DJs, VJs and DIY hackers. It’s called the QuNeo 3D Multi-Touch Controller. Yes, you’ve heard this kind of thing before, we know. But this, tech-fiends, appears to be the ultimate hybrid of all those things.

What’s the big deal then? Well err, QuNeo (pronounced kyoo-ne-oh, FYI) seemingly covers all of the functionality of other controllers, while adding some new and rather funky dimensions. Big deal? Yep. The QuNeo provides 27 pads, sliders and rotary sensors with 3D Multi-Touch recognition for pressure, velocity, and location sensitivity, which in-turn allows musicians playing electronic sounds to change their timbre (the quality, brightness and volume…). That means that harder or softer sounds can be varied by simply varying touch pressure – fancy yourself the next Thom Yorke (Radiohead) or Trent Reznor? (Nine Inch Nails, The Social Network OST), then this bad-boy could be for you. The pads are also responsive to X (left – right) and Y (up – down) and recognise multiple gestures for pinching and swiping. Fancy (yet refreshingly simple) stuff, eh?

We admit that with most of the first-gen software that’s come before, the options for controlling music have seemingly been pretty limited. To be fair, us using the term limited might even be a stretch; you could only ever hit a pad, twist a knob or push a button to manipulate sounds and effects (nope, the theremin’s got nuttin’ on this). KMI though, has attempted (and potentially resolved these restrictions) with its new line of Multi-Touch controllers:  SoftStep, 12 Step, and now QuNeo, that transforms musical intent into audio through physical control of 3D Multi-touch sensor technology. Well funky, yeah? The other cool thing about the QuNeo is that it’s built for portability. It’s basically a low-cost iPad-shaped music controller and as such, it fits into most iPad accessories (stands, clips), and cases. It actually feels a lot easier to handle than the iPad itself. Seriously.

See the product in action:

KMI founder Keith McMillen says of the product: “Great musical instruments push back and convey a sense of the physical. They have depth and dimension and show you what they know. We have developed sophisticated and innovative sensor technologies for musicians that enable this next generation of musical instruments – controllerism 2.0.” Nice term there, Keith.

If you needed any further proof of this thing’s quality (aside from our nice words, obviously), the QuNeo has had a viral effect on internationally-recognised crowd-sourced funding platform Kickstarter (it’s the first time a music tech company has actually used this method) with record-setting pre-sales, hitting its original funding goal in just 36 hours. Why Kickstarter? The KMI QuNeo campaign project is doing its level-best to make use of the platform and enable electronic musicians, DJs, VJs, and DIY hackers the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and order through a pledge of just $200. Now, as a result, the product is well over 400 per cent funded. Good work.

The QuNeo will be available by March 2012. It will be priced at $200 (around £129) for pre-sale at Kickstarter.com at the following link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kmi/quneo-multi-touch-open-source-midi-and-usb-pad-con.

Rumour: Sony to launch motion controller wand?

Sony’s inevitable contribution to the world of gesture control finally has some concrete details to go along with it. The ‘Motion Controller’ – a working title, Sony assure us – has only seen light of day at trade events thus far, but expect that to change now that the peripheral has a release date of Autumn 2010. That would put the device in direct competition with Microsoft’s Natal motion controller so expect the hype machine to hit overdrive just in time for Christmas.

The controller, resembling a microphone in shape, comes equipped with two motion sensors, three axes gyroscope and three axes accelerometer that can detect the controller’s angle and movement while held in the user’s hand. Sony promises that this technology, when combined with the PlayStation Eye camera, will accurately track the absolute position of the controller for an accurate, adaptable experience.

The sphere placed on the top of the controller is not only used to track position but can also give visual feedback to users by changing the colours or the illuminating patterns onto the sphere. Physical feedback meanwhile is provided via similar rumble technology as currently employed in DualShock 2 pads.

‘We have decided to release the Motion Controller in fall 2010 when we will be able to offer an exciting and varied line-up of software titles that will deliver the new entertainment experience to PS3 users,’ said Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

All big words from the Sony chief but so far the confirmed catalogue of games is a little on the thin side, a new Ape Escape game being the most illustrious of Sony’s launch date offerings. That said it seems the device will be compatible with already released games, titles such as Flower, PAIN and Eyepet all set to receive patches that will incorporate motion controller functionality.

There is no doubt that the success of the Nintendo Wii has paved the way for gesture control on home consoles, but a key part of that success has been down to the Wii’s competitive pricing and catalogue of so called ‘casual games’ so appealing to traditional non-gamers. Whether the public will be willing to invest substantially more for the promise of the PS3’s tighter motion control and high definition visuals remains to be seen.