Use The iPhone 4's Gyroscope Right Now — Without The iPhone 4 Or The Gyroscope

One of the highlighted new features of the upcoming iPhone 4 is the gyroscope. With it, developers will be able to build all new kinds of games that take your body’s movement into account. Apple CEO Steve Jobs showed off a Jenga-like game at the WWDC keynote. And you can imagine augmented reality apps will love this as well. But what if you’re not going to get an iPhone 4? Well, there’s a developer out there who has built a software engine for the iPhone 3GS or iPad that does the same thing.

Developer Vishal Srivastava (who recently left a job at Microsoft after 5 years there) has built what he calls the “Perspectiverse Engine.” With it, you can use the iPhone 3GS or iPad in the same way the iPhone 4 with the gyroscope works. That is, you load up an app and move your body around to manipulate the action happening on the screen. You can see it in action right now in the app Magic 3D Easter Egg Painter, which is currently live in the App Store.

Even cooler is a game Srivastava is working on called Gyromaniac (formerly called “Colonoscapade”). In it, you move your body around to make your way through a colon and other interesting interiors. It’s both disgusting and awesome. Srivastava actually showed me a demo of the game well before the iPhone 4 was announced (and obviously before anyone knew about the gyroscope feature). It’s very impressive how well it works considering there is no gyroscope in this older hardware. Check out the videos below.

So how does it work? The engine “uses a combination of device sensors to constantly align the game world with the real world. No matter how you orient your phone, north in the game universe is the same as north in the real world, south is south, up is up, down is down, and so forth. This allows you to interact with that game universe as if you were in it,” Srivastava tells us.

The engine works in older devices too but it reverts to tilt-only controls, Srivastava says.

So now that the gyroscope is coming in iPhone 4, is Srivastava worried the engine he built engine will be obsolete? No — if anything he’s excited that it can make his games more accurate.

He’s calling his company Subversus Interactive. Gyromaniac will be coming out shortly, but you can find Magic 3D Easter Egg Painter live now in the App Store — for a limited time it’s only $0.99.