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Vuzix iWear - Wrap 920AR

by Mick 0 Comments

Vuzix manufacture a range of Video Eye-wear and personal display devices for mobile video, entertainment, defence and commercial markets.

The concept of using glasses/goggles with an embedded video display to watch TV or play video games isn't a new idea, but my interest was re-ignited when I noticed their augmented reality eye-wear the Wrap 920AR.

Vuzix Wrap 920AR

These provide the equivalent of a 67-inch display as seen from 10-feet away. A stereo camera pair enables the mixing of the real world with a virtual world. Each camera capture 752×480 images at 60fps to enable a 1504×480 side-by-side image that can be viewed in 3D Sterescopic video on the eye-wear displays.

Details of the Wrap 920AR at

https://www.vuzix.com/augmented-reality/products_wrap920ar/

and the Vuzix site at

https://www.vuzix.com

It will be interesting to see how this technology can be used.

Available in a limited quantity, early shipments retail at £1499.00 (1699 euro)

ZCam

Gesture based controls are starting to change the way users interact with computer applications - as seen, for example, with the Wiimote a remote control used with the Wii games console.

Wouldn't it be great if the system could detect what was happening by interpreting movement and gestures directly without  the need for any input device?

In order to do this, technology is required that can build up a 3-Dimensional picture of the scene or environment where the user is placed. Movement and gestures within this 3D enviroment can then be used by the system to determine what the user is trying to do.

The ZCamTM is a video camera that can capture depth information (which is used to build the 3D model) along with video and is produced by 3DV Systems.

https://www.3dvsystems.com/

The technology is based on the Time of Flight principle. In this technique, 3D depth data is generated by sending pulses of infra-red light  into the scene and detecting the light reflected from the surfaces of objects in the scene. Using the time taken for a light pulse to travel to the target and back, the distance can be calculated and used to build up 3D depth information for all objects in the scene. 

The technology performs superior depth imaging (depth resolution of millimeters) in real-time (60 fps or more), using little or no CPU.

The latest ZCamTM is based on the DeepCTM technology which is a chipset that incoporates the sensing technology.

There are a number of related publications which describe the technology in greater detail and can be found at

https://www.3dvsystems.com/technology/tech.html

Creating an intuitive mechanism to replace the keyboard and/or mouse has been an aspiration for many people ever since Tom Cruise in 'Minority Report' looked so cool moving files around with his fingers.

Perhaps this technology can be used in helping to achieve those aims.  

Best Emerging Technology

by Mick 0 Comments

The Best Emerging Technology prize at Siggraph 2007 has recently been awarded to ICT Research.

Researchers at the USC (University of Southern California) Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) along with their collaborators have devised a reproducible, low-cost 3D display system that requires no special glasses, and is viewable from all angles by multiple users. This system allows computer generated 3D objects to be seen in new ways, and will impact the future of interactive systems.

3D Display

Details of the Rendering for an Interactive 360º Light Field Display can be found in a pre-print of a paper to be published in the ACM SIGGRAPH conference proceedings from the project page at

https://gl.ict.usc.edu/Research/3DDisplay/

3ddisplay_preprint.pdf

There is also a video news item by CBS at

https://www.cbs2.com/video/?id=36497@kcbs.dayport.com

The display consists of a high-speed video projector, a spinning mirror covered by a holographic diffuser, and FPGA circuitry to decode specially rendered DVI video signals. The display uses a standard programmable graphics card to render over 5,000 images per second of interactive 3D graphics, projecting 360-degree views with 1.25 degree separation up to 20 updates per second.

Find out more about ICT Research at

https://www.ict.usc.edu/

Sketching User Experiences

Bill Buxton is a designer and a researcher concerned with human aspects of technology. His work reflects a particular interest in the use of technology to support creative activities such as design, film making and music. Buxton's research specialties include technologies, techniques and theories of input to computers, technology mediated human-human collaboration, and ubiquitous computing.

Recently he has published his latest book which is well worth reading.

Sketching User Experiences

Here is a flyer to the book, which also contains a Table of Contents

https://www.billbuxton.com/bookFlyer.pdf

and here is a link to videos accompanying the book

https://www.mkp.com/sketching

Also, check out a conversation between John Udell and Bill Buxton at Channel 9

In the latest episode of my Microsoft Conversations series I got together with Bill Buxton to talk about the design philosophy set forth in his new book Sketching User Experiences. Nowadays Bill is a principal researcher with Microsoft Research, and before that he was chief scientist at Alias/Wavefront, but his involvement in the design of software and hardware user interfaces goes all the way back to Xerox PARC. Along the way he's accumulated a fund of wisdom about what he calls design thinking — a way of producing, illustrating, and winnowing ideas about how products could work.

LINK: https://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx PostID=312067

You can find Bill Buxtons home page at:

LINK: https://www.billbuxton.com/

Zsurf

Browsed past Zsurf - it is used to convert bitmap images into 'nurb' surfaces.

zsurf1

(Picture courtesy of Phil Kellman - 2007)

The workflow of the program is simple: load or create a bitmap, setup the filters and effects and then push the process button to process the image. The result of processing is a heightfield surface stored as an IGES file. (note: black represents minimum height and white represents maximum)

zpic1

I got a copy from

https://mwt.net/~sjedging/ZSURF4.zip

MSDN Magazine

by Mick 0 Comments

MSDN Magazine

The Microsoft Journal for Developers (MSDN Magazine) is available from

https://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/default.aspx

Also noticed Charles Petzold is venturing into 3D with his latest book. (He published his first book 'Programming Windows' back in 1988)

https://www.charlespetzold.com/

3D Programming for Windows.png

3D Programming for Windows explores and elucidates the 3D graphics programming facilities of the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) under Windows Vista and the .NET Framework 3.0.

https://www.charlespetzold.com/3D/index.html

Autodesk acquire Skymatter (Mudbox 3D)

by Mick 0 Comments

Autodesk has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire substantially all the assets of Skymatter, Inc., the developer of Mudbox 3D modeling software. This acquisition will augment Autodesk’s offering for the film, television and game market segments, while offering additional growth opportunities for other design disciplines. Autodesk anticipates that the transaction will close in the next two months.

mudbox

Read the Press Release (click here)

Watch a video of Mudbox in action (Click Here) (visualizing concept design in 3D)

T-Flex CAD

by Mick 0 Comments

T-FLEX Parametric CAD ( https://www.tflex.com ) is a mechanical design system with a flexible and intuitive workflow which is used for mechanical design applications including 3D/2D design, drafting, conceptual sketching, reverse engineering, tolerancing inspections, rapid prototyping, and downstream manufacturing.

Components are provided for CAD, CAM, Dynamic Simulation and Analysis.

T-Flex Dynamics is a general-purpose motion simulation add-on application for studying the physics-based motion behavior of a CAD design without leaving the T-FLEX CAD environment. T-FLEX Dynamics is the virtual prototyping software for engineers and designers interested in understanding the performance of their assemblies.

tflex

The latest release of T-Flex provides the ability to directly import parts and assemblies from Solid Edge and SolidWorks. When importing part or assembly data from a 'live' running copy of SolidWorks, the data is transferred from SolidWorks to T-Flex CAD retaining all the assembly structure and mates information.