Category Archives

2 Articles

Emerging Technologies - An Overview

by Mick 0 Comments

Here is a Complete list of Emerging Technologies shown at Siggraph 2006.

A Preview Moview (Quicktime) of the Emerging Technologies is available from HERE

Full details of these topics are available on the Siggraph Website and a summary is presented here. (This is a long post so be sure to read the complete article). Some of the items described here will be posted as separate articles.

AR Tennis - A collaborative augmented-reality game for cellphones. On their cellphones, two players see a virtual tennis court overlaid on the real table between them. They move their phones to hit virtual balls across the net.

The Interactive Theatre - Recipient of le Prix Emerging Technologies at Laval Virtual 2006 and presented as part of the exchange agreement between Laval Virtual and ACM SIGGRAPH. The argoGroup theatre combines group navigation, social experience, and significant individual interaction. At SIGGRAPH 2006, the theatre presents a program of artistic, educational, and entertaining interactive shows in stereoscopy (3D).

Augumented Painting - An interactive tabletop augmented-reality setup that creates an artistic representation of the scene. Users can select a painterly, cartoon-like, or black-and-white illustrative style. Virtual objects are added and displayed in the same artistic style.

bubble cosmos - A system that produces real bubbles containing white smoke and projects CG images onto them. When users break the bubbles, they produce changes in the visual stimulus and sound effects.

Copycat Hand - A humanoid robot hand that imitates the motions of a human hand at 150fps or faster.

Cubee: Thinking inside the box - An interactive cubic fish tank VR display that is suspended to enable viewing from all sides and free manipulation. The compelling interaction metaphor of objects inside a box can be used to evaluate interactive realism in dynamic simulations.

Deskrama - An interactive space browser for architectural designs. Moving its lightweight LCD panel on a building's plan drawing displays a 3D interior view of the building.

Digiwall - A sonically enhanced climbing wall with illuminating foot and hand grips. Sensors embedded in the grips and seven audio speakers enable computer mediated, interactive, musical and physical games.

Embossed Touch Display: Illusory Elongation and Shrinking of Tactile Object - A novel tactile display that can present any given width of objects. When the touched object moves, the object is perceived to elongate or shrink. Visual images synchronized with the tactile information are presented simultaneously.

Fabcell - A textile version of pixels in a computer display. Fabcell enables expression of visual images in real space because it displays images on the curves of flexible textiles.

Fingertip Digitizer: Applying Haptics and Biomechanics to Tactile Input Technology - A novel fingertip-mounted haptic sensing digitizer that captures physical phenomena at the fingertip during a user's tactile activities. The complex biomechanical characteristics of the finger can achieve delicate input actions in art, medicine, and industry.

Forhead Retina System - A small camera and 512 forehead-mounted electrodes capture the frontal view, extract outlines, and convert the data to tactile electrical stimulation. The system is primarily designed for the visually impaired, but it can be a third eye for users with normal sight.

Freqtric Drums - A device that transforms an audience into a drum. The performer and audience create music by touching their hands and other parts of their bodies: feet, foreheads, noses etc.

Hand-Shadow Illusions and 3D DDR Based on Efficient Model Retrieval - An installation art system that children can use to play hand-shadow illusions or pose to match images dynamically shown on the screen as background music plays.

High-Resolution, Real-Time-Geometry Video Acquisition System - A geometry video acquisition system that measures both geometries and positions of objects accurately. The data acquisition speed is 90fps and 266,000 points per frame. Acquisition, reconstruction, and display are simultaneously realized at 30fps.

The Huggable: A Therapeutic Robotic Companion for Relational, Affective Touch - A new type of robotic companion inspired by pet-therapy research. Unlike current robotic companions, the Huggable features a full-body sense of touch; silent, smooth voice-coil actuators; and an embedded, networked PC.

Incompatible BLOCK: Wonders-Accompanied Interface - For interface design, improving user curiosity is important, as is intuitiveness and intelligibility. The wonder of 2D property input becoming 3D will also be effective for enhancing availability. Incompatible BLOCK is 3D-modeling software with an interface of such wonders.

Instant Replay - Real-world, slow-motion instant replay for air hockey. This new space-labeling technology tracks the pucks with a high degree of accuracy and speed (1cm/500 Hz) in natural illumination without visible tags.

Interactive 3D Fluid-Jet Painting - An interactive digital system that allows users to create abstract paintings in the style of Jackson Pollock. Users can analyze the fractal properties of the images they create and compare them to those known to exist in Pollock's own paintings.

An Interactive Multi-User Holographic Environment - An interactive, multi-user holographic environment that allows naked-eye participants to share a large 3D scene with fully continuous, observer-independent parallax. This holographic display is a unique combination of optimized optical design, commodity hardware technology, and parallel graphic technology packaged in a system that can be directly driven by a stream of graphic commands.

INVISIBLE ~The Shadow Chaser~ - An interactive game that helps players sense unseen existences through indirect information such as their shadows, sounds, and weights. In this game, 'invisible' goblins sneak around, but you can only see their shadows. Your mission is to chase their shadows and capture them with a special vacuum.

livePic - An interactive product that expands the drawing experience. With livePic, you can 'move' and 'control' the pictures you draw. It senses your interaction from the board, and pictures move inside the canvas as if they are alive.

Morphovision - A unique display system that interactively transforms and animates a 3D solid object. A model house rotates at high speed, illuminated with special lighting from a digital projector, which distorts it into various shapes.

Move - In this installation, computer vision and full-body interaction allow participants to experience six different types of actions usually performed by avatars in videogames.

MRI (Mixed-Reality Interface) - A novel approach to intuitive and self-explanatory interaction between a crowd of untrained persons and highly sophisticated software applications. The MRI project is focused strongly on usability and user-behaviour issues.

Multi-Touch Interaction Wall - A 16-foot-long rear-projected interactive display that has the unique ability to sense multiple points of touch from any number of users simultaneously with unprecedented precision and accuracy.

Perceptual Attraction Force: The Sixth Force - A novel handheld force-feedback device that exploits the nonlinearity of human haptic perception. The device generates asymmetric acceleration in one cycle, a pushing or pulling sensation, to support nonverbal communication.

Powder Screen: A Virtual Materializer - A screen made of a pool filled with fine polystyrene beads that can completely hide real objects and seamlessly transform images of virtual objects into real objects and vice versa.

Powered Shoes - A locomotion interface using roller skates actuated by two motors with flexible shafts. The device enables users to walk in arbitrary directions in virtual environments while maintaining their positions.

The Shared Design Space - A novel interface for enhancing face-to-face collaboration using multiple displays and input surfaces. The system supports natural gestures and paper-pen input and overcomes the limitations of using traditional technology in co-located meetings and brainstorming activities.

Submerging Technologies - Three interactive water displays: a tantalizing fountain that withdraws when a hand comes near, a musical harp with water 'strings,' and a liquid touchscreen.

Tablescape Plus: Upstanding Tiny Displays on Tabletop Display - A new type of display system for digital kiosks, multiple-aspect viewers, and tabletop theater that uses placed objects as projection screens and input devices.

Tangibles at Play - Graphic user interfaces separate intangible representations (pixels) and remote controllers (mouse, keyboard). This alternative approach presents tangible user interfaces that tightly couple representations and controls to take advantage of multimodal human senses and skills to manipulate objects.

Tele-Kinesthetic Interaction: Using Hand Muscles to Interact With A Tangible 3D Object - In this tele-kinesthetic interaction environment, users remotely interact with a physical object by moving and straining their hands. The system approximates the hand motions by synthesizing EMG signals.

True 3D Display Using Laser Plasma in the Air - This display device uses the plasma emission phenomenon near the focal point of focused laser light. By controlling the position of the focal point in the x, y, and z axes, it displays real 3D images constructed by dot arrays in the air.

U-Tsu-Shi-O-Mi:The Virtual Humanoid You Can Reach - An augmented-reality system that synchronizes a humanoid robot and a virtual avatar. Users experience shaking hands with a computer-graphic avator.

Virtual Open Heart Surgery: Training Complex Surgical Procedures in Congenital Heart Disease - A new training tool for complex heart surgery. Morphologically accurate models of congenitally malformed hearts were reconstructed from 3D MRI data and integrated in graphical settings representing the surgical environment.

VoodooIO - A new physical interface that can be easily constructed from a collection of basic controls (Voodoo Pins) that are dynamically pinned into and manipulated on an active material.

Happy Birthday

by Mick 0 Comments

One Year Old Today.


Today is the first anniversary of this Blog - started exactly 1 year ago today.

In the past year, more than 150 articles have been written covering a diverse range of topics from interesting 'gadgets' through to the more in-depth looks at what has been happening in the competitive world of 3D Cad.

This article discusses some of what has been noticed over the last year

Some random thoughts – Trends in man-machine interaction

I recently came across an article entitled 3D Modelling is not for WIMPs – a brilliant title referring, of course, to Window Icon Menu Pointer in regards to how users interact with computer applications.

Then I was reading an article “PAD Paper Aided Design” about the design process how it is easy to sketch out your design on a scrap of paper before committing it into a CAD system.

And it got me to thinking some more about UI aspects for CAD software.

Perhaps the next breakthrough for CAD is not actually concerned with the mathematics involved in creating the model – the technology already available from 3rd party suppliers such as ParaSolid and DCubed is quite robust - or even improvements in raw computing power (multi-core, multi-cpu etc.) but rather in the area of input and output devices to ease a user with the Man-Machine interaction.

The traditional approach has used the WIMP as the optimum input mechanism with output devices consisting of a 2D display screen and printers. More recently, 3D scanner devices and 3D printers provide an alternative form of input and output mechanisms.

Its possible to looking at the way other improvements have been applied to promote the use of technological developments, for example,

  • Predictive Writing - start typing a word and the system auto-completes for you, a major usability improvement promoting sms text messaging on mobile phones,
  • searching with Web search engines such as Google,
  • writing text documents with word processing tools (auto-complete, spelling correction)
  • Digital Camera technology - improving and automating the ability to take good (or at least reasonable) quality pictures - auto white balance, auto-focus, auto exposure and aperture control amongst many others. (Or does it now just allow you to quickly take hundreds of snaps in the hope of getting a good one without taking the time to frame your subject properly - perhaps it is a retrograde step after all and WHY keep all the hundreds of 'poor quality' 'rejected' images? - more junk.

That brings up the issue of Electronic Junk collecting - The volume of data in electronic form is now enormous. Recently I tried to spring clean information accumulated over the past years (sorting out junk in the electronic attic) - what should I keep, what should I throw away? An argument says to keep everything - storage is cheap,
but for What Purpose? but I digress ..

I followed a recent debate, noticed on a web forum for a forthcoming Rendering package, discussing the virtues of the User Interface provided with a selection of leading packages in the visualisation industry and comparing these with their own package.

What defines a 'GOOD' UI - is it the colour scheme, perhaps this is true at a certain level. Is a dark scheme better than a light scheme?

Does the UI get in the way of you trying to do your job?

How important is screen real-estate - clutter, distractions, impinging on other work areas

Workflow - the process you follow to get a job done. There is a natural workflow in all activities you undertake some of this being natural, you do it without a second thought, while in some activities the workflow is defined for you (typical computer software says you can do it 'this way'). Workflow definitions should NOT get in the way of the outcome you're trying to achieve.

What is a good workflow - something that appears natural to you. This may not be the same for everybody – certain aspects of SolidWorks allows a measure of freedom here in that there are multiple ways to achieve the same objective, however 'downstream activities' may dictate 'how' you should do the job to achieve an 'optimum' workflow - e.g. should you define fillets in your 2d sketch or as features on your 3D model?

Does workflow change depending on the job at hand? If I'm making a cup of tea, the steps to follow are generally the same every time - but you could add the milk before the water or the water before the milk - does it matter to the outcome?

We live in a 3D world so why force a user to work in a 2D environment. Screen displays are typically a 2D medium. Input using a mouse or keyboard is typically a 2D medium.

Technology allows wireless mice, keyboards etc. Ok, so now you don't have a spaghetti of wires covering your desktop.

  • Virtual keyboards projected onto your actual (physical) desktop.
  • Virtual displays - projected into 3D (holographic) space.
  • eReaders, Tablet PC's non-keyboard input devices, paper, digital pens, dialogless applications

So what of the future?

I see the trend continuing with the improvement of graphics devices that allow shapes to be formed on your desktop - not your Windows Desktop, rather the actual top of your desk. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what does a virtual model convey.

Input devices may evolve using a haptic approach to provide real-time feedback during the creation and manipulation of models.

But as with most things, a lot depends on the cost. If devices such as these can become low-cost commodity items everyone will be using them and not know how they lived without them.