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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > The Future of Nanotechnology > How Nanotech CouldChange The Way We Play Games

Amanda Richter

Once upon a time, in a computer store far, far away, people purchased games and other software for their personal computer.

November 12th, 2013

How Nanotech CouldChange The Way We Play Games

Image by David Wallace via Flickr

They walked through row after row of shiny packages all proclaiming the merits of the contents within. Alas, much like choosing an album based solely on the packaging, picking the right software was hard. You couldn't try it before you bought it, unless a friend happened to have exactly what you wanted. You couldn't even jump on the internet and funnel through hundreds or thousands of user reviews to see what you were really buying.

Fast forward a few years and suddenly you could research your purchase online, order it from the comfort of your own PC and wait for it to arrive in the mail. It wasn't much longer before you could simply find what you wanted online and download it or play it instantly in your browser. Where before it took patience and research to find a puzzle game you could later waste hundreds of hours enjoying, now you can try dozens of hidden object games at and, if you like them, download a version for your phone or tablet. The same goes for your console gaming system. New generation systems are relying more and more on game downloads rather than physical media sales.

So, what does the future hold? How will nanotech further impact your gaming experience?

Gaming PCs, mobile devices and console gaming systems have all benefitted from nanotechnology and they will continue to get better, faster and stronger as nanotech evolves. But beyond the basic hardware, the biggest advances you should look for will be in the peripherals. Expect controllers to become more responsive and easier to handle. That Wii nunchuck combo will look as clunky 10 years from now as Zack Morris' cell phone looks to us today.

Image by Vancouver Film School via Flickr

Picture a pair of those gloves with the conductive fingertips that let you use your smartphone during the winter without getting frostbite. Now imagine simply using gestures (without needing to touch your screen) to control your phone, tablet, computer or gaming console. No more streaky phone screen and possibly no more need for a handset. You could make Google Glass more than a fad, it could be a viable mobile computing and communication system. Want to play solitaire? Put on your gloves and you're ready to go. Gone are the days of specialty keyboards and macros for PC gamers. A custom designed and responsive "keyboard" for different games would be a menu away.

But why stop there? Gloves can be dirtied, torn or lost. They certainly won't always match your outfit and, let's face it, gloves are not always a seasonally-appropriate accessory. Why not embed the technology into your fingers? Maybe the future of gaming is less like this:

Image by Jeramey Jannene via Flickr

and looks instead like a Tony Starks lab:

Beyond the "cool" factor of reducing or removing peripherals, there would be myriad other benefits:

No hardware means no gesture has to be repeated exactly which could mean a significant reduction in repetitive stress injuries from mice, keyboards and controllers.
No hardware also means far less environmental impact. Fewer raw materials would be needed, less energy would be used in the production process, the environmental impact of shipping would be drastically reduced and less waste would be created from broken or outdated products.

Sure, there are benefits and opportunities in nanotechnology in all sectors, like medical or engineering, but it would certainly serve gamers across the spectrum. How do you think nanotechnology might change gaming? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!

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