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Project Natal + Windows

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  • User profile image
    Bass

    BitFlipper said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*

    It seems like you think know everything, except you choose to ignore the technology in Project Natal. Why would you do that? Instead of aguing with me about it and stating as fact that it does not contain a 3D camera, why don't you do the basic research? You bothered to post a reply here, why not also do a quick search on the subject to get more up to speed?

    I realize you are very anti-MS, but that is no reason to be in denial about the technology in Project Natal.  It doesn't take much searching to find all sorts of information about the camera technology in Natal, which proves you 100% wrong.  Since you refuse to do that little bit of reaserch, I'll do it for you, and hopefully you will stop being in denial.

    "The 3D sensor itself is a pretty incredible piece of equipment providing detailed 3D information about the environment similar to very expensive laser range finding systems but at a tiny fraction of the cost. Depth cameras provide you with a point cloud of the surface of objects that is fairly insensitive to various lighting conditions allowing you to do things that are simply impossible with a normal camera.

    But once you have the 3D information, you then have to interpret that cloud of points as "people". This is where the researcher jaws stay dropped. The human tracking algorithms that the teams have developed are well ahead of the state of the art in computer vision in this domain. The sophistication and performance of the algorithms rival or exceed anything that I've seen in academic research, never mind a consumer product."
    http://procrastineering.blogspot.com/2009/06/project-natal.html

    "The device features an "RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone, and custom processor running proprietary software", which provides full-body 3D motion capture, facial recognition, and voice recognition capabilities. The Project Natal sensor's microphone array enables the Xbox 360 to conduct acoustic source localization and ambient noise suppression, allowing for things such as headset-free party chat over Xbox Live.

    The depth sensor consists of an infrared projector combined with a monochrome CMOS sensor, and allows the Project Natal sensor to see in 3D under any ambient light conditions. The active depth-sensing range of the depth sensor is adjustable, with the Project Natal software capable of automatically calibrating the sensor based on the gameplay and environment conditions, such as the presence of couches."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Natal

    This link shows a video demo of the depth camera that was created by 3DV Systems, which is the company MS bought to get the hardware for Project Natal. BTW, research into Project Natal was going on years before they bought 3DV Systems. It is much more than just the 3D camera.
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/gallery/movies/Face.mpg

    An interview with Shane Kim, corporate vice president for strategy and business development at Microsoft’s game division:
    "It uses an RGB camera (image sensor), a 3-D depth camera (which determines how far away an object is from the camera), and a multi-array microphone."
    http://venturebeat.com/2009/06/02/microsoft-games-executive-describes-origins-of-project-natal-game-controls/

     

    Sorry, I know it includes a "range finder". I am still skepetical this will be accurate without any information regarding how this range finder actually works. If Microsoft managed to reduce the cost of a product by an order of mangitude overnight, and doesn't explain HOW, I don't think I am being unreasonable by questioning it. If that makes me "very anti-MS" then so be it.

  • User profile image
    BitFlipper

    Bass said:
    BitFlipper said:
    *snip*

    Sorry, I know it includes a "range finder". I am still skepetical this will be accurate without any information regarding how this range finder actually works. If Microsoft managed to reduce the cost of a product by an order of mangitude overnight, and doesn't explain HOW, I don't think I am being unreasonable by questioning it. If that makes me "very anti-MS" then so be it.

    I give up.  You obviously will be in denial no matter what anybody says, even those that worked closely on the project.

    At least have enough of a spine to admit that you were wrong about the fact that it actually includes a 3D camera. Too much to ask for?

    Let me gues: If this was an Apple project, you'd be gushing all over it, right...?

    Figures...

    EDIT: Funny that you will call it a "range finder", when pretty much everyone else, including those that worked on the project, do not call it that (3D camera, time-of-flight camera, depth sensor). A "range finder" is what you buy in Home Depot as a tape measure replacement that tells you the range to a solid object using a laser. Once again, I realize you need to downplay any kind of innovation from MS, but you are starting to look a little bit ridiculous now.

  • User profile image
    Cream​Filling512

    BitFlipper said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*

    Project Natal includes both a 2D RGB camera as well as a 3D time-of-flight camera. This is what makes it so amazing for something that is expected to cost around $200 (not much more than a Guitar Hero set). From your post it sounds like you don't believe that this is the case (that it is a true 3D camera where each pixel contains the true depth at that point). This fact has been pretty much confirmed. This is not a bad place to start:

    http://procrastineering.blogspot.com/2009/06/project-natal.html


    Also, I realize that for the grayscale depth image returned by the 3D camera, it is computationally easy to find edges.  But this is not the only thing Natal does. It maps that info into multiple skeletal points, and that is where the heavy processing is.  What I was proposing was that if that part of the processing is what is really causing the lag, that using additional, simpler 2D/3D overlay tracking could help to reduce lag since the software can make assumptions about how the skeleton is moving (from the 2D image) before the heavy 3D processing is able to even calculate the true position of the skeleton.

    $200 seems like an awful lot though, the whole console itself starts at $200, my guess is it'll be somewhere between $100 and 200.  It could even be sold at a loss initially like a new video game console.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    BitFlipper said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*

    I give up.  You obviously will be in denial no matter what anybody says, even those that worked closely on the project.

    At least have enough of a spine to admit that you were wrong about the fact that it actually includes a 3D camera. Too much to ask for?

    Let me gues: If this was an Apple project, you'd be gushing all over it, right...?

    Figures...

    EDIT: Funny that you will call it a "range finder", when pretty much everyone else, including those that worked on the project, do not call it that (3D camera, time-of-flight camera, depth sensor). A "range finder" is what you buy in Home Depot as a tape measure replacement that tells you the range to a solid object using a laser. Once again, I realize you need to downplay any kind of innovation from MS, but you are starting to look a little bit ridiculous now.

    No, I just want more information. Personally I'd like nothing more then to have all the specifications, the source code, every little bit of info about this thing. That's what _I want_. Yes, I know I won't get it. But don't construct me as some kind of anti-MS nut because I am interested in more then just a bit of marketing speak about something.

    PS: I don't own a single Apple product.

  • User profile image
    BitFlipper

    Bass said:
    BitFlipper said:
    *snip*

    No, I just want more information. Personally I'd like nothing more then to have all the specifications, the source code, every little bit of info about this thing. That's what _I want_. Yes, I know I won't get it. But don't construct me as some kind of anti-MS nut because I am interested in more then just a bit of marketing speak about something.

    PS: I don't own a single Apple product.

    Well, it is interesting that I had to post multiple replies with links just to get you to realize that it actually had a true 3D camera. If you didn't even want to do that yourself, I imagine you probably also didn't bother looking at the videos of the demos they had, including the posts from the press where they got hands-on with Natal, stating that it works pretty much as well as the demos showed.

    If you really want to have the specs, source (Why? The API and docs should be enough), you could always become a games developer. MS stated that they started shipping dev kits to game developers last week.


    And if you are concerned about the depth resolution, look at the video I posted above:
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/gallery/movies/Face.mpg

    It clearly shows some a pretty well-defined depth outline of the person, while they are talking. Once again this is the same camera technology that MS bought to use with Natal.

    It is one thing to be sceptical, but another entirely to completely ignore the information that is easy to find about this technology. You claim you want "more information", but I doubt that.  You didn't even know the basics.

  • User profile image
    Cream​Filling512

    BitFlipper said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*

    Well, it is interesting that I had to post multiple replies with links just to get you to realize that it actually had a true 3D camera. If you didn't even want to do that yourself, I imagine you probably also didn't bother looking at the videos of the demos they had, including the posts from the press where they got hands-on with Natal, stating that it works pretty much as well as the demos showed.

    If you really want to have the specs, source (Why? The API and docs should be enough), you could always become a games developer. MS stated that they started shipping dev kits to game developers last week.


    And if you are concerned about the depth resolution, look at the video I posted above:
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/gallery/movies/Face.mpg

    It clearly shows some a pretty well-defined depth outline of the person, while they are talking. Once again this is the same camera technology that MS bought to use with Natal.

    It is one thing to be sceptical, but another entirely to completely ignore the information that is easy to find about this technology. You claim you want "more information", but I doubt that.  You didn't even know the basics.

    http://venturebeat.com/2009/06/02/microsoft-games-executive-describes-origins-of-project-natal-game-controls/

    They are saying the 3DV aquisition has nothing to do with Natal.  It was very recent anyway, it's probably just to avoid IP issues.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    BitFlipper said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*

    Well, it is interesting that I had to post multiple replies with links just to get you to realize that it actually had a true 3D camera. If you didn't even want to do that yourself, I imagine you probably also didn't bother looking at the videos of the demos they had, including the posts from the press where they got hands-on with Natal, stating that it works pretty much as well as the demos showed.

    If you really want to have the specs, source (Why? The API and docs should be enough), you could always become a games developer. MS stated that they started shipping dev kits to game developers last week.


    And if you are concerned about the depth resolution, look at the video I posted above:
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/gallery/movies/Face.mpg

    It clearly shows some a pretty well-defined depth outline of the person, while they are talking. Once again this is the same camera technology that MS bought to use with Natal.

    It is one thing to be sceptical, but another entirely to completely ignore the information that is easy to find about this technology. You claim you want "more information", but I doubt that.  You didn't even know the basics.

    They might say it's a true "3D camera", but my expirence (yes professional expirence) is a "true" 3d camera currently costs in the range of five figures USD. So if it's a true 3D camera, and it's in the three figure range, whats that typical expression?

    "How the f**k?"

    It's like Toyota just annonced a $300 Camry or something. Is that suppose to be taken at face value?

    Sadly my question of "how the f**k?" is so far unanswered, even by you. I actually have real use for a cheap * sensor that can return accurate 3D vector data of a scene, in real time. This is more then just "lawl video games", this is "f**king awesome, now I can build a robot that doesn't break itself by banging into the f**king wall".

  • User profile image
    BitFlipper

    Bass said:
    BitFlipper said:
    *snip*

    They might say it's a true "3D camera", but my expirence (yes professional expirence) is a "true" 3d camera currently costs in the range of five figures USD. So if it's a true 3D camera, and it's in the three figure range, whats that typical expression?

    "How the f**k?"

    It's like Toyota just annonced a $300 Camry or something. Is that suppose to be taken at face value?

    Sadly my question of "how the f**k?" is so far unanswered, even by you. I actually have real use for a cheap * sensor that can return accurate 3D vector data of a scene, in real time. This is more then just "lawl video games", this is "f**king awesome, now I can build a robot that doesn't break itself by banging into the f**king wall".

    Take it easy there, no need to get so angry...

    Well, judging from the demos, descriptions of what it is comprised of, and hands-on from the press, all I can say is that apparently they are doing it.  MS has the money to do the R&D, and ability to mass produce/market this so that it does become affordable to the end users.  I doubt they will be selling the cameras seperately for $200 just so that people can experiment with it outside of the Xbox (or at least they are not going to give you the SDK for free as a non-Xbox developer). The value of this to them lies in the fact that it adds to the Xbox universe, not hobyists that want a cheap 3D camera. I am sure it will get hacked and people will connect it to their PCs and do all sorts of wonderful things with it, but that is not their goal.

    Anyway you slice it, no matter how many thimes you say it is not possible, they are doing it. Sorry to dissapoint you.

  • User profile image
    aL_

    now, now folks, lets all try and keep cool Smiley

    i thing its pretty clear that  natal does include a z camera from 3dv or some derivative there of. as for the ms exec statement, i belive they are talking about the software and its origins beeing before the 3dv buy out. in an interview that i think ive already posted on this thread, the algorithms where in development since way back and they where looking for something to "plug them into" and thats probobly where 3dv came in..

    as for pricing, yes TOF cameras are typpically very expensive.. but so was accelerometers before the wiimote Smiley its all about the volume.. consider cpus and gpus, they are really hard things to make [40nm processes, pushing on 32nm] and yet they are available in consumer products.. i do belive microsoft has the real deal here Smiley

    that face video was cool Smiley hadnt seen that one.. i did some more poking around their site and i found this:
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/technology/tech.html
    im gonna have a look at the pdf:s now, looks interesting indeed.

    i also agree that this tech seems a little to good to be true.. it does seem to be pretty much real though, but i think microsoft should release more info Smiley

    --edit--

    whitepapers are nice and scientific.. me like..
    also the gallery:
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/gallery/gallery.html
    has some cool stuff to check out (including full body tracking, looks pretty old though)

    --edit2--

    actually the papers could have been more scientific.. but the videos are cool Smiley also, it seems like the 3dv zcam had a 1.3 mega pixel resolution.. it would seem likely that natal will have something similar

  • User profile image
    BitFlipper

    aL_ said:

    now, now folks, lets all try and keep cool Smiley

    i thing its pretty clear that  natal does include a z camera from 3dv or some derivative there of. as for the ms exec statement, i belive they are talking about the software and its origins beeing before the 3dv buy out. in an interview that i think ive already posted on this thread, the algorithms where in development since way back and they where looking for something to "plug them into" and thats probobly where 3dv came in..

    as for pricing, yes TOF cameras are typpically very expensive.. but so was accelerometers before the wiimote Smiley its all about the volume.. consider cpus and gpus, they are really hard things to make [40nm processes, pushing on 32nm] and yet they are available in consumer products.. i do belive microsoft has the real deal here Smiley

    that face video was cool Smiley hadnt seen that one.. i did some more poking around their site and i found this:
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/technology/tech.html
    im gonna have a look at the pdf:s now, looks interesting indeed.

    i also agree that this tech seems a little to good to be true.. it does seem to be pretty much real though, but i think microsoft should release more info Smiley

    --edit--

    whitepapers are nice and scientific.. me like..
    also the gallery:
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/gallery/gallery.html
    has some cool stuff to check out (including full body tracking, looks pretty old though)

    --edit2--

    actually the papers could have been more scientific.. but the videos are cool Smiley also, it seems like the 3dv zcam had a 1.3 mega pixel resolution.. it would seem likely that natal will have something similar

    Yea, this sounds very promising:

    "The technology performs superior depth imaging (depth resolution of millimeters) in real-time (60 fps or more), using little or no CPU"
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/technology/tech.html

    One thing I think people should realize:

    The actual 3D camera concept is pretty simple, if you look at what each pixel does. It is only slightly more complex than what a typical, cheap CCD does in a consumer camera. The biggest reason why it has been so expensive up to now is that our technology just wasn't fast enough to perform the shutter speeds required to make this work (the technical description I saw showed the actual "shutter" as a multiplexing electronic switch, one for each pixel).  Once we have the required speed, it becomes much more viable to mass produce this, resulting in much lower cost.

    That is why I don't believe it is so far fetched that something like this can end up costing $200. Once again, not much more than a set of Guiter Hero controls, and we all know what a "failure" that turmed out to be Wink

     

    EDIT: This is how I understand it to work:

    Each pixel in the 3D camera CCD consists of one light detector, and two capacitors (as opposed to one detector and one capacitor for a typical CCD). Initially, both capacitors start out discharged. An IR light pulse is sent out. The first capacitor it connected to the light detector.  Exactly halfway through the cycle, the light detector is switch over to the second capacitor. At the end of the cycle, the difference between the voltage of the 1st and 2nd capacitor describes the distance at that pixel.  Due to the fact that the difference between the two capacitor is used as the actual value to process, the level of ambient light is cancelled out since it will cause each of the two capacitors to have the same value.  Only the dynamic light is having an effect on the final output. If the object is close, both capacitors will have almost the same voltage. The further the object, the longer the first capacitor will be without the light from the pulse, resulting in it having a lower voltage at the end of the cycle.

    Yes this is an oversimplification, but this is how I understand the basic functionalty.  Not that much more complex than the current mass-produced CCDs we find in cheap cameras. The biggest challange seems to be to get the high speed of switching required to make it work. Since they have now reached that speed, it now becomes possible to mass-produce it much more cheaply.

  • User profile image
    aL_

    BitFlipper said:
    aL_ said:
    *snip*

    Yea, this sounds very promising:

    "The technology performs superior depth imaging (depth resolution of millimeters) in real-time (60 fps or more), using little or no CPU"
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/technology/tech.html

    One thing I think people should realize:

    The actual 3D camera concept is pretty simple, if you look at what each pixel does. It is only slightly more complex than what a typical, cheap CCD does in a consumer camera. The biggest reason why it has been so expensive up to now is that our technology just wasn't fast enough to perform the shutter speeds required to make this work (the technical description I saw showed the actual "shutter" as a multiplexing electronic switch, one for each pixel).  Once we have the required speed, it becomes much more viable to mass produce this, resulting in much lower cost.

    That is why I don't believe it is so far fetched that something like this can end up costing $200. Once again, not much more than a set of Guiter Hero controls, and we all know what a "failure" that turmed out to be Wink

     

    EDIT: This is how I understand it to work:

    Each pixel in the 3D camera CCD consists of one light detector, and two capacitors (as opposed to one detector and one capacitor for a typical CCD). Initially, both capacitors start out discharged. An IR light pulse is sent out. The first capacitor it connected to the light detector.  Exactly halfway through the cycle, the light detector is switch over to the second capacitor. At the end of the cycle, the difference between the voltage of the 1st and 2nd capacitor describes the distance at that pixel.  Due to the fact that the difference between the two capacitor is used as the actual value to process, the level of ambient light is cancelled out since it will cause each of the two capacitors to have the same value.  Only the dynamic light is having an effect on the final output. If the object is close, both capacitors will have almost the same voltage. The further the object, the longer the first capacitor will be without the light from the pulse, resulting in it having a lower voltage at the end of the cycle.

    Yes this is an oversimplification, but this is how I understand the basic functionalty.  Not that much more complex than the current mass-produced CCDs we find in cheap cameras. The biggest challange seems to be to get the high speed of switching required to make it work. Since they have now reached that speed, it now becomes possible to mass-produce it much more cheaply.

    right, the 3dv design is solid state so there is far less mucking about with mechanics.. thats probobly why they think they can get down to consumer prices.. cool stuff.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    BitFlipper said:
    aL_ said:
    *snip*

    Yea, this sounds very promising:

    "The technology performs superior depth imaging (depth resolution of millimeters) in real-time (60 fps or more), using little or no CPU"
    http://www.3dvsystems.com/technology/tech.html

    One thing I think people should realize:

    The actual 3D camera concept is pretty simple, if you look at what each pixel does. It is only slightly more complex than what a typical, cheap CCD does in a consumer camera. The biggest reason why it has been so expensive up to now is that our technology just wasn't fast enough to perform the shutter speeds required to make this work (the technical description I saw showed the actual "shutter" as a multiplexing electronic switch, one for each pixel).  Once we have the required speed, it becomes much more viable to mass produce this, resulting in much lower cost.

    That is why I don't believe it is so far fetched that something like this can end up costing $200. Once again, not much more than a set of Guiter Hero controls, and we all know what a "failure" that turmed out to be Wink

     

    EDIT: This is how I understand it to work:

    Each pixel in the 3D camera CCD consists of one light detector, and two capacitors (as opposed to one detector and one capacitor for a typical CCD). Initially, both capacitors start out discharged. An IR light pulse is sent out. The first capacitor it connected to the light detector.  Exactly halfway through the cycle, the light detector is switch over to the second capacitor. At the end of the cycle, the difference between the voltage of the 1st and 2nd capacitor describes the distance at that pixel.  Due to the fact that the difference between the two capacitor is used as the actual value to process, the level of ambient light is cancelled out since it will cause each of the two capacitors to have the same value.  Only the dynamic light is having an effect on the final output. If the object is close, both capacitors will have almost the same voltage. The further the object, the longer the first capacitor will be without the light from the pulse, resulting in it having a lower voltage at the end of the cycle.

    Yes this is an oversimplification, but this is how I understand the basic functionalty.  Not that much more complex than the current mass-produced CCDs we find in cheap cameras. The biggest challange seems to be to get the high speed of switching required to make it work. Since they have now reached that speed, it now becomes possible to mass-produce it much more cheaply.

    If it's true, this is bigger then a video game controller. There are many many many many many

    many many many

    applications that have been waiting for an inexpensive 3d range finder

  • User profile image
    Cream​Filling512

    Bass said:
    BitFlipper said:
    *snip*

    If it's true, this is bigger then a video game controller. There are many many many many many

    many many many

    applications that have been waiting for an inexpensive 3d range finder

    Yeah no joke, imagine if digital cameras stored depth components for each pixel like this does.  You edit images in Photoshop easily, remove the background just by deleting pixels greater than a certain depth, etc. Or you could use depth data to extrude a 3d model.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    Bass said:
    BitFlipper said:
    *snip*

    If it's true, this is bigger then a video game controller. There are many many many many many

    many many many

    applications that have been waiting for an inexpensive 3d range finder

    True, but the video game market is an obvious mass market to target , where people are more likely to pay the premium because of obvious benefits. Give it 5 years and this kind of tech will probably be in every webcam going.

  • User profile image
    aL_

    yeah i mean look at soemthing like zbrush (http://www.pixologic.com/) they've got a concept of 2.5d pixels that are batically pixels with depth. photoshop already got some mechanisms for describing depth with gradients and stuff.. if they play their cards right natal could be huuuuuge in the pc space.. [thats why you should release a windows driver microsoft Smiley]

  • User profile image
    aL_

    aL_ said:

    yeah i mean look at soemthing like zbrush (http://www.pixologic.com/) they've got a concept of 2.5d pixels that are batically pixels with depth. photoshop already got some mechanisms for describing depth with gradients and stuff.. if they play their cards right natal could be huuuuuge in the pc space.. [thats why you should release a windows driver microsoft Smiley]

    checking out

    http://www.youtube.com/user/xboxprojectnatal

    some good gameplay videos actually Smiley looks like input lag is pretty much on par or even slightly better than the wiimote, looks like 200-300 ms to me.. but it also seems to vary, perhaps if you're naked it'll be 100 ms Tongue Out

    other impressions on the latency?

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    Minh said:
    Minh said:
    *snip*

    Have you guys seen Sony's answer to the motion controller question?

    OK, first of all, augmented reality is cool...!!!

    Secondly, I think Sony's solution has a better chance of creating good games than Natal,  at least in the near-term... It's really like a WiiMote... with much greater pointing range... since w/ the WiiMote, the camera inside it must see the IR lights in the sensorbar.

    I think Natal is going to miss having a trigger... Unless all Natal games will be of the Wii Fit variety...

    I'm hoping what we're seeing in Natal isn't the final version

    Yup, for certain games they are still going to need buttons for stuff like shooting and picking things up.

    Since Natal seems to do quite well already with just tracking a players body it can only be more accurate when it's use with a prop with either glowing or reflective dots on it.

  • User profile image
    BitFlipper

    dentaku said:
    Minh said:
    *snip*

    Yup, for certain games they are still going to need buttons for stuff like shooting and picking things up.

    Since Natal seems to do quite well already with just tracking a players body it can only be more accurate when it's use with a prop with either glowing or reflective dots on it.

    I think part of the problem is that we are so used to controllers that it is hard for us to imagine playing any other way.  Using a controller seems "natural" when in fact it is anything but natural.

    Personally I find it difficult to use a console controller to play FPS games. It feels like all my intended moves are funelled through a straw. A melee attack is reduced to a single button push. There are so many ways you can perform a melee attack, but all I get is to push a single button.  I used to play FPS games since before the original Doom even came out using a mouse and keyboard on a PC. To me that allows for much finer control. Mathematically, an analog stick results in the 1st derivative of where you are trying to aim, while a mouse is a 1:1 mapping of where you are trying to aim.  Even so, I have gotton somewhat used to using analog sticks to play FPS games.

    I think if Natal proves to be accurate enough, and they can reduce the lag to such an extent that it becomes a non-issue (which I believe they can as this is still far from final shipping hardware), that there is nothing preventing game developers from creating a whole new FPS control mechanism based on body motion that could end up being much less restrictive that a controller. And unlike some people's idea that you will need to "walk/run in place" to simulate walking/running, it can be something much simpler like leaning in the direction you want to move. I already gave an idea of a motion-only, full control scheme for an FPS while comfortably sitting down on your couch.

    The good news is that the developers are now getting the development kits. Let's hope they come up with some cool things that we just can't imagine right now since we are so brainwashed into thinking that these controllers are the "natural" or only way to do things.

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