3D-printed Ninja Track controller transforms in your hand

The Ninja Track shows what the 3D printing can do for the future of games.

If you heard the words “fishing rod sword,” you’d probably think it was something out of a Final Fantasy game. But the Ninja Track is actually a 3D-printed controller for Reel Blade, a game about fishing and swordplay.

The controller, developed by the National University of Singapore (NUS), transforms from a wobbly fishing rod to a rigid blade by flipping a switch. It was exhibited at the Tokyo Game Show 2015.

Reel Blade was created to test the Ninja Track. It's about catching and then slicing up an octopus. It’s a little like Reel Fishing meets Fruit Ninja only with the one octopus—it is a hardware demo, after all.

Programmer Wei Kiat Leong addressed Reel Blade's simplicity:

Right now what we have is a small prototype game and we hope that maybe in the next year or so we could potentially produce a game for the arcade systems.

The Ninja Track, too, is still in development. Though NUS used 3D printing to create a prototype, the final version will be a more durable product. 3D printing is known for making fragile, breakable products. But even so, its prospects for game innovation seem endless.

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Published Sep. 24th 2015

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