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  • Wed 26 Aug 2009

    Making fun of AR

    Published at 9:41   Category Augmented Reality  

    I just laughed so much when I saw this video.. It exactly summarizes the current state of AR for marketing: useless! Simply displaying an object is boring! Adding crappy animations is boring! Come on guys, be creative, add some interaction !!

    Me too (doing some AR stuff)! from Anatoly Zenkov on Vimeo.

    EDIT: Added this one too :

    Augmented Reality Extreme from Bruno Tozzini on Vimeo.

    Fri 21 Aug 2009

    On the way to flat displays for caves

    Published at 9:02   Category VR Displays  

    The guys behind the StarCave have created a new VR display using flat HDTV.

    From this Physorg article :

    The technology, dubbed “NexCAVE,” was inspired by Calit2′s StarCAVE environment and designed and developed by Calit2 Research Scientist Tom DeFanti, Virtual Reality Design Engineer Greg Dawe, Project Scientist Jürgen Schulze and Visualization Specialist Andrew Prudhomme.

    “It’s always been our dream to make a projector-free LCD flat panel CAVE,” DeFanti says. “The trick was to get the form of the huge StarCAVE into the space of a living room. We took a speculative leap by overlapping 9 panels, and it turned out better than we thought.”

    “The NexCAVE’s technology delivers a faithful, deep 3-D experience with great color saturation, contrast and really good stereo separation,” explains DeFanti. “The JVC panels’ xpol technology circularly polarizes successive lines of the screen clockwise and anticlockwise and the glasses you wear make you see, in each eye, either the clockwise or anticlockwise images. This way, the data appears in three dimensions. Since these HDTVs are very bright, 3-D data in motion can be viewed in a very bright environment, even with the lights in the room on.

    “Lights-on is something that just wasn’t possible with the StarCAVE.”

    The NexCAVE’s data resolution is also superb, close to human visual acuity (or 20/20 vision), DeFanti says. The 9-panel, 3-column prototype that his team developed for Calit2′s VirtuLab has a 6000×1500 pixel resolution, while the 21-panel, 7-column version being built for KAUST boasts 15,000×1500-pixel resolution.


    The costs for the NexCAVE in comparison to the StarCAVE are also considerably cheaper. The 9-panel version cost DeFanti’s team under $100,000 to construct, whereas the StarCAVE is valued at $1 million. One-third of that cost comes from the StarCAVE’s projectors, which burn through $15,000 in bulbs per year. Every time a projector needs to be relamped, the research team must readjust the color balance and alignment, which is a long, involved process.

    Since the NexCAVE requires no projector, those costs and alignment issues are eliminated.

    “The fact is, with the StarCAVE, there’s lots of tuning involved if you really want to get it right. It’s like tuning a piano,” DeFanti says. “With the NexCAVE, you don’t have to tune once it’s built.”

    The NexCAVE’S tracker (the device used to manipulate data) is also far less expensive — it’s only $5,000 as compared to the StarCAVE’s $75,000 tracker, although its range is more limited.


    “Our next goal is to make an autostereo NexCAVE,” says DeFanti (meaning the screens won’t require the use of special glasses). “And someday we hope to have organic LED screens with no bezels.

    They say that the seams are not visible since you are so immersed! Sounds like a nice display to me.

    I just bought myself a Samsung RZ 2233 120H LCD screen and the nVidia 3D Vision kit with stereo glasses and it rocks!

    Now I want to have 9 to build myself a NexCAVE =)

    Wed 12 Aug 2009

    Ultrasonic haptics

    Published at 18:43   Category VR Devices  

    The University of Tokyo has demonstrated at Siggraph an interesting haptics system where you can feel contact .. without any contact !

    From the paper :

    “Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display [Iwamoto et al. 2008]” is a tactile display which provides tactile sensation onto the user’s hand. It utilizes the nonlinear phenomenon of ultrasound; acoustic radiation pressure. When an object interrupts the propagation of ultrasound, a pressure field is exerted on the surface of the object. (…)

    The current version of prototype consists of 324 ultrasound transducers. The resonant frequency is 40 kHz. The phase delays and amplitudes of all the transducers are controlled individually to generate one focal point and move it three-dimensionally. The total output force within the focal region is 1.6 gf. The diameter of the focal point is 20 mm. The prototype produce sufficient vibrations up to 1 kHz.”

    The range is not specified and all the other numbers are quite meaningless for me =)

    YouTube Preview Image

    This is a really interesting system! I’m wondering if this could be extended to simulate touch on any body part ? This is a step beyond the 3rd Space Vest, with its 8 impact points.

    Honorable mention to the low cost hand tracking system :

    While camera-based and marker-less hand tracking systems are demonstrated these days, we use Wiimote (Nintendo) which has an infrared (IR) camera for simplicity. A retroreflective marker is attached on the tip of user’s middle finger. IR LEDs illuminate the marker and two Wiimotes sense the 3D position of the finger. Owing to this hand-tracking system, the users can handle the floating virtual image with their hands.


    Fri 7 Aug 2009


    Published at 14:18   Category VR Devices, VR Displays  

    A plastic gun, a LCD, a Gyromouse, mix, shake, here’s the VR Gun :

    YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image


    (I know, I’m two months late =)

    You will only get the rotations from the Gyromouse, so walking won’t help you.

    This is as clever as the R-Screen or the Virtual Showcase, but less complicated and cheaper =)