I stumbled upon a video last night, in which a man builds a virtual world using holographic tools for a certain special someone. It’s a blend of astounding graphics, clever user interface ideas, some poignant moments, and an actor who does this odd sideways smirk quite often (but don’t let that spoil it).
World Builder was shot in a single day followed by about 2 years of post production. It has won several short film awards. The film’s creator, Bruce Branit, has built a Facebook community around World Builder, where he’s been sharing updates, behind the scenes material, and the news that he’s pressing on with a feature length version.
My favourite element of this video is Bruce’s interface concept – fingertip control, a wrist-mounted colour & texture palette, and a sense of our favourite Photoshop tools brought into the real-world.
As with all the videos I post here, remember to hit fullscreen, and let me know what you think in the comments. Don’t get too slushy though.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a display that lets users “touch” holograms. Virtual objects appear to float in mid-air thanks to an LCD and a concave mirror. The sensation of touching the objects is created using an ultrasound device positioned below the LCD and mirror, creating an area of condensed air.
Augmented Reality Toys:
One student of France’s L’École de Design has developed a way to ‘hack’ toys using AR. His Scope display automatically recognizes ordinary toys that have been mounted onto platforms covered with hexagonal patterns, as seen below. With AR, these hexagons become interactive buttons that are used to make virtual modifications to the toy.
Another French project, this time from INRIA and Grenoble Universities, could revive the dying science of Virtual Reality. Their new VR system, Virtualization Gate, tracks users’ movements very accurately using multiple cameras, allowing them to interact with virtual objects with never-before-reached realism. This interface demonstrates true physics, as well as crispy graphics, so a cluster of PCs is needed to perform the necessary image capture and 3D modeling.
Researchers at the University of Southern California will demo Headspin, a 3D teleconferencing system that maintains eye contact between a three-dimensional head and several participants on the other end of a connection.
To capture an image, a polarized beam-splitter “places” the camera virtually near the eyes of the speaker. The 3D display works by projecting high-speed video onto a rapidly spinning aluminum disk to generate an accurate image for each viewer.
One researcher from Carnegie Mellon University will demonstrate his new scratch input technology. The system turns any surface into an instant input device by sensing the unique sound produced when a fingernail is dragged across it. The interface is small enough to fit into a mobile device (though I have concerns about calibration) and could thereby turn any surface the device is placed upon into an interface.