By Rex Santus2014-10-03 02:30:19 UTC

You probably already know that your smartphone is a powerful piece of technology, but — when used in unusual ways — what these things can do becomes even more astounding.

Case in point: A group from Swiss University ECAL has managed to combine an iPhone with desktop objects bought from IKEA to make motion-detecting, 3D video games.

While motion-interactive game systems like Microsoft’s Kinect exist, this device is different. You can literally roll a ball to control what’s happening on your screen. Like this:

Marc Dubois, the project’s leader, accomplished this by combining “industrial objects” with sensors already built into smartphones (such as the gyroscope). Essentially, the smartphone is placed within a sphere-shaped container that acts as a controller. When you move the object, the movement is replicated on a screen.

Dubois and his collaborators have more cool tricks up their sleeves, too. In similar fashion, the phone is placed in a cube, which you can move through a maze-like virtual course. Another game is controlled by a small lamp. You shine a ray of light on a cone-shaped capsule containing the smartphone to control the game:

Obviously, you need more than a smartphone and a nearby IKEA to recreate these games, but the sensor technology is already there. You just need to know what to do with it.

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