Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Projecting the future

New Scientist brings us stories and videos from the 37th SIGGRAPH International Conference & Exhibition of Computer Graphics and Interactive Technology.

I call it, technoart!

A Cookie with Seven differen tastes
Got a taste for Augmented reality? Then we have 7 different flavours!

Pictured above, a participant wears a helmet with built in camera, on board computer and taste delivery system. As the participant engages to devour the cookie, the sneaks a quick picture of the top surface of the cookie, which contains a symbol. The symbol is sent to a processing unit in the hat that recognises the symbol which instructs the dispensing unit's to deliver the required sent for the symbol.

The sent is released into tubes that exist at the nostrils where it can be breathed in by the participant through the nose. This targets a well known fact that a great portion of what we consider to be taste is actually our sense of smell.

Just what the world needs. More excuses to eat more cookies - "But I haven't had the other 4 flavours yet mummy."

See Video.

Desklamp HD Projector
Working along side the usual colour projector, an infra-red projector and a computer, this desk lamp is more than meets the eye.

Fitting the lamp with an infra-red camera and combing with seperate colour and infra-red projectors, the lamp can be positioned over the projected colour/infra-red images allowing for the lamps viewing area to be enhanced with more detailed information.

The system works by taking the lamps images of the infra-red projection and handing it to a computer system that analyses symbols in the image which give away the lamps location allowing the computer to work out what area on the projected image the lamp is viewing. Knowing this, the system can bring up more detailed information for the exact viewing area of the lamp.

This is another example of augmented reality, which involves software taking symbols, interpreting them and then loading up some data on top of the symbols. This technology is somewhat of a break through right now but it is available to the every day user through various mobile phone applications. This will be a big part of our future.

See Video

Furry Input Device
Anyone for a fury PC/Laptop/iPhone? Maybe not. Perhaps this technology is more art than function?

Creator Yuichi Itoh explains the fur is actually a set of fibre optic cables/wires, half of which emit light, the other half which act as infra-red light sensors. When you stroke the area, the infra-red sensors carry the information of which areas are being stroked to a computer underneath the table which performs the necessary calculations to compute the stroke path. With the stroke path known, the computer sends different colours of light to the emitting fibre optic cables on that path.

The major draw card of this technology is that it does not require a manual to use. Humans are instinctively inclined to rub, pat and stroke it and so this could have a future some sort of input device for computers.

Itoh does see some practical applications for the technology citing a "soccer stadium with turf made of a Fusa2 display" that would display information such as the offside mark for instance. However I'm guessing this is some time away. I see more present day applications in fury animal robot toys - you've gotta start somewhere.

See Video

I've only skimmed through three of the technologies profiled by New Scientist. Check out their run down of the International Conference & Exhibition of Computer Graphics and Interactive Technology for more .

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