3D Tech Could Help You Interact With Objects From Afar
Gabriel Roşu / 5 years ago
It is common for people to hold video conferences in order to have some insights upon objects of reference, but how about touching an object while being far away? Apparently we are not far from being able to interact with objects while not being present in the room, according to a CNN article.
For this example, Daniel Leithinger from MIT’s Tangiable Media Group, used a flat display that shows your caller’s upper body, talking away. But below this their hands and arms reach up out of the tabletop into the physical world, gently lifting a small red ball off the table and passing it from one digitally-recreated hand to the other.
This is all possible with the help of the inFORM Dynamic Shape Display: a tabletop covered in miniature white squares that rise up like towers, to turn digital content into physical objects. Used in conjunction with a 3D sensor, like Microsoft’s Kinect, it can capture a person’s physical appearance and reproduce it in tiny skyscraper-like “pixel” blocks — on-the-fly, anywhere in the world.
“Essentially it’s very similar to those kind of pin toys that you might know from museum novelty stores,” explains Daniel Leithinger.
To add color to the block shapes, a projector on the ceiling beams down light, turning the towers psychedelic hues as Leithinger demonstrates the table’s capabilities.
It also has a deeper purpose — communicating an extra layer of information from the sender to the receiver on the other end: “When you move your hands, not only do you have the shape of the hands, but you also see the color, the texture of the hands,” says Leithinger. The display doubles as an active controller, allowing a user to interact with 3D menus constructed by the table by moving the little red ball.
“It’s not real 3D because we can only push up and down each one of these pins,” says Leithinger. “We can’t push them sideways or have any other control over them at the moment — we usually call this affect ‘2.5D'”
Leithinger’s ambitions is to implement the tech in a smartphone on which the user can interact with objects from afar: “In the future, where we hope to get is something like, say, a phone that you could have in your pocket, and as you interact with things on the phone you can actually touch them.” It remains to be seen whether or not users will get attuned with the new tech available in their pockets in the near future.