Virtual Reality

Altair Alliance Adds Kinect-Capable Rendering Tool

The Altair Partner Alliance has gained its first rendering tool, a 3D solution with tracking capabilities for augmented reality technologies that leverages Microsoft Kinect. Continue reading

GlassUp Ready to Challenge Google Glass

Not everyone is a fan of Google Glass. While few doubt the utility of the augmented reality (AR) headset, privacy concerns have made just as many headlines as actual usage of Google’s devices. The company has banned the use of facial recognition software, but people have already figured out workarounds, making the ban appear rather worthless.

Solutions to the problem of the camera embedded in every pair of Google Glass have included a cap to block its recording capability in public, a red light to show the camera is on, and so forth. The eventual solution to the camera conundrum may eventually just be to remove it. A new challenger has already gone this route with GlassUp, a set of AR glasses that has no camera and has been designed with a more limited set of capabilities. Continue reading

Disney’s AIREAL is the Next Generation of Haptic Technology

If you are any kind of technology geek, you really want to run a computer the way it’s done in movies like Minority Report or Iron Man. Just a few waves of the hand and some voice recognition to control a display that either floats in front of you in 3D or takes up most of the space on a wall.

Gesture recognition is part of the technology that could make that dream a reality, and Disney Research may well have invented another piece of the puzzle. The AIREAL haptic feedback system provides users with a touch experience sans screen or any other physical device. Continue reading

Developing a Smarter Internet of Things

The idea of a house that responds to commands through high technology has been bouncing around for nearly a century. Mainly a sci-fi trope, the possibility of realizing such a house has become more likely with the development of wireless technology and the internet of things (IoT). For those unfamiliar with the term, the IoT represents everyday objects that are connected to the web via sensors, chips or some other bit of technology.

These objects can track user data (such as how many times you actually hit the fridge at 3 a.m.) and, increasingly, have interactive elements. Gestures and voice commands may eventually allow you to turn on the TV, turn off the lights and so forth. A MIT Media Lab group called the Fluid Interfaces Group isn’t sure that’s the best idea. They contend that much of human interaction is based on touch, and a lack of muscle memory involved in physically interacting with objects could have a negative long-term impact.

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MIT Develops Holographs Using Off-the-Shelf Tech

Hollywood might be in love with 3D, but I’m really not. Maybe it’s because I wear glasses (making the additional 3D glasses cumbersome) or maybe it’s because I already find movie tickets to be plenty expensive, but I have no interest in 3D flicks. The MIT Media Lab may solve my problem by making 3D the technology of the past.

Using one of the new Kinect cameras, the MIT team was able to capture three dimensional images to be reproduced as holograms at around 7 fps. Within a month the team had more than doubled the frame rate to 15 fps, and the team is certain they’ll be able to reach the 24 fps of films or even the 30 fps of TV. Along with the Kinect, the team is mainly using items anyone could purchase from a store.

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