hand gesture recognition as an arcade gaming interface

"He watched the kids stand in front of the machines their bony arms like umbilical cords joining human and machine. He asked the kids questions about what made a good game. Arawaka realized the most successful games had something that player’s couldn’t articulate. The words used to describe them were usually reserved to describe forms of intimacy between people. It was as if the players and the game itself had somehow merged." (page 83, ‘Game Over – Nintendo’s battle to dominate videogames’, David Sheff, 1993, Coronet Books)

Bionic Roshambo is the culmination of nearly four months of research into the symbolism of the hand as a link between humans and machines and how this could be implemented into a video gaming experience, one that would respond to hand gestures and provide the user with the sensation that they are truly interfaced 'one' with the machine.

The project developed from an initial set of ideas focused more on technology than usability into the tailoring of an interface solution for a specific task. An everyday piece of computer equipment, the humble pc keyboard, provided the basis for what would become the Bionic Roshambo glove.

What was achieved was a two player arcade experience that takes a culturally transcending game concept, that of 'rock, paper and scissors' and translate it to the arcade gaming domain. The end result is an original approach to video gaming and an engaging experience for users.

Bionic Roshambo thesis:
PDF file - 1.4 Megs

Bionic Roshambo in-game movie:

A scan of the Bionic Roshambo feature from EDGE magazine:

Bionic Roshambo on Gamasutra.com:


The Bionic Roshambo Arcade Cabinet

Bionic Roshambo title screen

The controller gloves

Glove close-up

Glove circuit diagram

The keyboard hack

For more info email:

This site is an archive of my MA in Interactive Media work from 2001 and 2002, please see kierannolan.com for my current portfolio.

< back