I came across a really neat concept yesterday. At first I thought it was completely hatstands and that no one would ever buy into it, but after much thought, I’m now sitting on the fence – see what you think…

My friend told me about this new technology developed in Brighton called Locomatrix. It uses GPS triangulation to turn your mobile phone into a gaming device. ‘Gaming device’ I thought, ‘mobile phones are already game devices, just look at the iPhone’. Well, this is a bit different.

By pinpointing your position on the earth, you can actually assume the role of the character in the game. Take Fruit Farmer, the first game developed on the format, for example…

Fruit Farmer

Fruit Farmer asks you to stand in a wide open space like a field, park or beach and activate your phone’s in-built GPS or GPS dongle. When you look at your phones’ screen, you will see fruit dotted around the area and it’s your job to physically run around, collecting them while dodging wasps and other enemies.

I didn’t know what to think about this at first other than, there is no way folk will run around in a field like that. They’ll be too embarrassed if people see them, plus, Scotland doesn’t exactly have the most consistent weather for this kind of game.

But then I dug a little deeper and checked out some proposed titles. For starters, it’s open source so anyone can develop a game for it, which is a wise move in today’s market, something which fans of the massively expanding Wii freeware scene will perhaps testify to.

Hands up how many people have taken part in a scavenger hunt when they were wee? Imagine the same concept on Locomatrix. It’s being touted as a mulitplayer game, so everyone gather together in one spot then the game uses preloaded missions for real areas such as the Glasgow Green, Central Park or the Brighton Seafront for example. Using this data, ‘treasures’ will be hidden around the area on your phones screen with a hot/cold meter telling participants how close they are to the prize.

Pretty neat and with so many kids having mobiles now this could be a great summer activity. There is even talk about doing this kind of multiplayer game across the span of a whole city. Grand Theft Auto GPS might be a bit out of the question, but the backbone of the idea is the same. Have a huge sprawling game with folk running around a city trying to reach a target location while dodging enemies on your phone. Or how about Pac-Man in an actual hedge maze?

All of a sudden I didn’t think it was such a daft idea. The concept may have some glaring flaws at points but it is interesting to see how Locomatrix or freeware devs might run with the technology in future. Anyone else got good ideas as to how they might use this?