The Hackable Wand

Some fun news in this update that was just announced by Wired – http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/05/incantor-wand-duels/...

You're probably realizing by now that Incantor is a passion project for us. What you may not know is that it is serving at least three different passions. Our gaming geek, our inner story telling geek and our gadget geek are all being fed by Incantor.

Today's update concerns the latter.  It's get-your-gadget-on time!

The Incantor Wand will be a hackable device.

What do I mean by that? Just like the Kinect, you'll be able to use your Incantor wand to do all kinds of fun and freaky stuff we never imagined.

Like everything else in Incantor, we wanted to go one step further than the obvious. Bear with me because this takes a bit of explaining, but it'll be worth the wait, I promise.  

A good place to start is a simple question:

Q:  Wouldn't it be awesome if your wand could control real world stuff?

A:  HECK YEAH!

So that's what we've made possible.  

Every time a spell is cast correctly, it generates an OSC (Open Sound Controller) command.  What the heck is that?  Well, it's the 21st century equivalent of MIDI.  If you don't know MIDI, it was born in the early 80's and is a way of controlling one musical instrument from another.  Pressing a key on one musical instrument generates a note that controls another connected instrument.

And that's what OSC does.  You generate an OSC command and then use it to control something else.  OSC was created to serve the needs of Video DJ's who wanted to control sound, multi-media, synthesizers and lighting rigs for live performances all from one place.

So casting spells will generate OSC commands and those commands can be used to control ANYTHING that can be controlled by OSC.  

What might that include???

  • Multi-media devices of all kinds, including music & video playback
  • Any MIDI compatible musical instrument
  • Your laptop/desktop, including triggering scripts e.g. http://www.osculator.net/
  • Your Roomba (see https://github.com/whoisjake/roboJake)
  • Theatrical lighting and stage effects, from strobe lights to fog machines (http://www.lightjams.com/)
  • Any device that can be used with a home automation system – TV, stereo, furnace, thermostat, lights, hot tub, door locks...
  • And your Mom (if she's OSC compatible)

You can see a complete list of OSC compatible stuff here: For a list, look here:  http://opensoundcontrol.org/implementations.

One of my personal favorites is Osculator http://www.osculator.net/ because you can make it do all kinds of crazy things and it's free to try out (and cheap to buy).

So we see two primary use cases for this

1.  At Home

When you're not playing the game, you might choose to set up a lightning bolt to switch your TV on or off. Maybe a Fireball dims your living room lights and a Ward fires up iTunes.

Not to go too deep on the technology, but several folks are working on an OSC to Zigbee bridge i.e. control any Zigbee device from OSC. That includes all kinds of home automatic, even door locks!

2.  At Home in-Game, or at a Special Venue

A bolt could trigger a strobe light. A spell summoning fog will fire up the smoke machine. And the wall of fire triggers this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rCnpZ6lB-E (my personal favorite).

There is new stuff happening all the time with OSC, so the sky is the limit as to what we'll be able to do. Once the game is live, we will also make APIs available so that the hard core programmers among you can code custom apps and interfaces.  We will make it free for non-commercial fun hackery (and probably offer licenses for commercial uses). 

So your Wand will be a universal remote that can be hacked to control all kinds of devices.  Does that work for you?

P.s. We've had a lot of requests for a less expensive backer option that gets a non-custom wand, so we've added an option for a standard production wand at $65. It won't have the custom look or the extra in-game features of the $100 wand, but it's still a magic wand!

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    2. Markus Kostarczyk on

      This is awesome.
      You have no idea how usefull that can be at a Larp-Con! I am usually on some really big Con's, thousands of people....controlling the stage with a wand just would add alot to the atmosphere! And of course, controlling stuff at your home with them is REALLY awesome.
      You gotta advertise this part way more!