The University of British Columbia
Users can interact with the 3-D display objects by using tools and gestures.
Elie Ahovi, Jérémie Levain, François Mahieu, Marc Tran, Valentin Delrue, and Nicolas Lenotte Digital Renders : Elie Ahovi & Marc Tran
We love the future and all it has to offer, but we nod to the past for leading us here. This week in Tasty Tech, we look forward and back. Back in the 1900s, airships and zeppelins were all the rage. But then the airplane came along and the dream when up in flames. But it didn't die. Like a Phoenix rising up from the ashes, comes Cloudea, a concept from industrial designers Elie Ahovi, Jérémie Levain, François Mahieu, Marc Tran, Valentin Delrue, and Nicolas Lenotte. Unlike other airships, this one blends in with the sky. We like the idea.
Since 1950, car lovers and aficionados from around the world have come to Pebble Beach's Concours d'Elegance to drool over some of the world's rarest and most collectible cars. This 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Scaglietti Spyder drove the crowd wild.
Louise Hughes/Science Photo Library
An online game called EyeWire harnesses the power of gamers to do good. Developed at MIT, the game had some 135,000 players navigating a single nerve path in a mouse's retina. The information gleaned was then used to reconstruct the neural wiring in 3-D images. Done with the eye, gamers have now moved on to the olfactory cortex to discover how the brain deals with smells.
Where is a chair when you need one? Oh, it's right there, strapped to my butt. The Chairless Chair, developed by Swiss startup Noonee, is an exoskeleton that attaches to your legs. When you sit back, it's like the chair has been under you all along.
The MULE, from designer Anton Brousseau, is a workhorse for city living. This concept electric vehicle features a fully electric rechargeable battery with a range of 80 miles. It has a unique saddle system for carrying cargo and a tilting recumbent seat that puts the rider in touch with the vehicle and the road.
No, it's not Google Glass. These are Recon Jet, a bad-ass name for a pair of electronic sunglasses that could let police capture photos of their surroundings. Wearable tech company, Recon, is partnering with Motorola to create the new surveillance gadget for what they call, "smarter policing."
Nike's House of Mamba is the world’s first touch-sensitive LCD basketball court. It was unveiled in Shanghai, China, this summer and is named after Kobe Bryant, whose nickname is Black Mamba. The court has motion-tracking sensors, artificial intelligence and reactive LED lights that display a range of different graphics. The visualizations are crazy-exciting and even though developers say the court will mostly be used for training purposes, you just know they gotta use it for the crowd, too. How could they not? See a videohere
G.L. Kohuth/Michigan State University
Most solar panels are black, but this one developed by researchers at Michigan State University is crystal clear. Just imagine if your windows also generated solar power or if the screen on your phone harvested sunlight to power it? That's the future.
Yerka Project via Youtube
The three engineering students from Chile came up with Yerka, a bike that uses its frame as the lock. Break the lock, break the bike. That's not worth stealing, now is it?
Land Art Generator Initiative
This lovely concept from artist Felix Cheong puts billowing, wind-harvesting flags on a floating platform that harvests tidal power from the waves. It's called Oscillating Platforms and it's one of many innovative submissions to the annual Land Art Generator Initiative, which brings together the worlds of installation art and renewable energy infrastructure. Winners of this initiative will be announced in October.
Researchers from the University of São Paulo, in Brazil, and University of British Columbia, in Canada, have developed a spherical display that lets users see and interact with three-dimensional objects. In one demonstration, viewers have the sensation of staring into a snow globe that they can control with simple gestures from any angle.
The device, called Spheree, represents the first display capable of projecting uniform, high resolution pixels on a spherical surface — a technology that also allows users to interact with the 3-D display objects by using gestures.
The Spheree allowed attendees at the SIGGRAPH 2014 convention held in Vancouver last week to play with a Snow Globe 3D animation that included a house, animated snow and a train chugging around the house.
That interactive display required eight pocket-size projectors mounted at the base of the globe, as well as software capable of blending together the individual projector views to create a uniform pixel presentation from almost anywhere on the spherical surface.
Small pico-projectors like the ones used for the demonstration have lower resolution and brightness than traditional projectors — a problem for a virtual reality system that aims for high quality. But the international team of Brazilian and Canadian researchers used an auto-calibration algorithm called FastFusion to seamlessly combine the resolution and brightness of the many projected images without a resulting decrease in quality. A basic webcam allows the algorithm to see the position of the individual projector images on the globe and compute each image's contribution to the overall final image.
The auto-calibration system works with practically any number of pico-projectors, which means researchers could build ever-larger versions of Spheree. The team has already tested a four pico-projector system with an 18-centimeter-wide display and an eight pico-projector system with a 51-centimeter-wide display. By avoiding the use of special mirrors or lenses, they avoided having "blind spots" in the overall projected image.
Spheree also uses six infrared cameras to track the movement of special headbands worn by viewers. The data the cameras feed to a computer constantly provide perspective-corrected virtual scenes based on a viewer's position with respect to the globe. Gesture control with a Leap Motion interface also allows users to interact with the 3-D scenes or animations by using gestures to start, move forward and backward, pause and stop animations.
The system uses a second computer to run 3-D animations with Blender Software. Researchers envision Spheree helping animators or modelers by showing 3-D computer animations or the results of image-based rendering applications — perhaps as a second screen. A larger version of Spheree might provide walk-around experiences for team projects or show up in interactive museum displays. Future video games or toys might also make use of such technology.
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This article originally appeared on IEEE Spectrum; all rights reserved.