Shooter game uses real Japanese bow as interface

This first-person-shooter may inspire you to fire some real-world arrows.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
2 min read
Light Shooter
All fired up: Light Shooter DigInfo TV

Traditional Japanese archery, or kyudo, involves drawing a bow that can be taller than the archer himself.

You wouldn't think a long flexible bamboo pole makes for a great gaming interface, but Masasuke Yasumoto of Tokyo University of Technology would disagree.

He developed a game called Light Shooter that makes use of a traditional bow, or yumi, as a shooting device.

The bow doesn't fire arrows, but it does have a strain gauge as well as acceleration and magnetic sensors.

In a darkened room, players aim at on-screen figures and animals formed of lines and dots, draw the bow, and release the string. A computer calculates the trajectory of the virtual arrow and explodes the target if the aim is true.

The object, however, is to give players a feel for the real thing.

"The advantage of using real equipment is the gear itself teaches you how to handle it," Yasumoto tells DigInfo TV in the video below.

"Rather than reading in a manual, 'Press button A, press button B,' in this game, the gear itself teaches you, with no manual needed."

The game was shown off at the 2013 Computer Entertainment Developers Conference (CEDEC).

Yasumoto wants to enhance the bow by adding a laser projector and smartphone into the grip to show where the player is aiming and make it an immersive 3D experience.

But wouldn't that defeat the purpose of getting a feel for the real thing? Come to think of it, why not just join a kyudo club somewhere?

You wouldn't be ale to fire at digital enemies, but you'd learn some real-world archery.