Games: The Killer App for Pen Computing?


Date Thursday April 26th 2007
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

Because of the lack of compelling applications, relatively few people are attracted to pen computing hardware like the TabletPC. And without sufficient hardware adoption rates, few application vendors are investing heavily in applications that take full advantage of the drawing, writing, and direct manipulation capabilities of the electronic stylus on a screen. The question arises, “What will be the killer app for pen computing?”

One possible answer is, a hit game. Poker, Monopoly, Scrabble, Pong, Pictionary, Tetris, Rubik’s Cube, the Sims, were (are) all phenomena in their time. The Playstation, XBox, and Gamecube prove that games drag specialized and expensive hardware. Games can come from out of the blue to strike it big. New platforms are rare opportunities. This talk will discuss the new possibilities that pen computing offers for games, and suggest criteria that must be met to create a “killer app” game compelling enough to drive adoption of pen computing hardware so that serious applications will have a place to go.

I will demonstrate a few example games that may be cute but are not good enough. The audience will be challenged to do better.


Eric Saund is manager of the Perceptual Document Analysis area in the Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the Palo Alto Research Center. His research is in the field of computational vision, specializing in perceptual organization in the domain of document images. Applications of this work include ubiquitous document imaging, diagrammatic user interfaces, and perceptually-supported image editing, as well as classical document recognition. Dr. Saund received a B.S. in Engineering and Applied Science from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds 28 patents to date, and currently serves as Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence.

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