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Plethora of new inventions and technology... Beautiful!

 
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SectionMR2



Joined: 11 Jul 2010
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:33 pm    Post subject: Plethora of new inventions and technology... Beautiful! Reply with quote



A Seeing Eye:
Disney Research’s animatronic eye is relatively simple in its design. The eye has a transparent-plastic inner sphere with a set of magnets around it, painted to look just like a human eye. It is suspended in fluid and has a transparent outer shell. Using electromagnets from the outside, the eye is moved sideways or up and down, giving it a smooth and easy motion.

“It is as fast as the human eye and as good as the human eye,” says Smoot.

The pupil and the back of the eye are clear. A camera placed at the rear of the eye helps the eye see. Smoot hopes the mechanism can be used to create prosthetic eyes.

“The prosthetic eye based on this won’t restore sight, but it can restore cosmetic appearance to those who have lost an eye,” says Smoot. The animatronic eye won the “best in show” prize at Siggraph this year




In-Air Typing Interface
Not everyone notices them, but those fingerprint smudges that accumulate on touchscreens can be extremely annoying. One way to keep the screen clean is to carry around tiny wipe cloths. A better way could be to just not touch the screen at all when you type.

A new user interface lets users type letters in the space above the keypad. The system uses a tiny camera with a wide-angle lens that, in conjunction with the software, can accurately detect the position of a fingertip in space. But this requires additional hardware that is housed in an extension about 2 inches wide at the bottom of the phone.

“You hold your finger over it, and in a quick second it registers the position calibrating the device,” says Preston Smith, emerging-technology chair for Siggraph 2010. “You can then go over the keyboard picking out letters to type.”

And because tactile feedback is important in typing quickly, a motor attached to the back of the display vibrates briefly when users hit the keys.

For now, the system only recognizes a single finger, so its the hunt-and-peck model of typing at work. But Smith is optimistic about the research’s future.

“It’s a first step,” he says. “Over the years I have seen so many first steps that become ready to hit market in five years. This could be one of those stories.”




360-Degree 3-D Display
Not needing glasses for 3-D is enough to blow the minds of most people. But take it to the next step — a 3-D display that isn’t flat and requires no glasses — and it becomes a prop from a sci-fi film.

In stores, Sony’s pushing big, flat screen 3-D TVs that require a pair of special glasses. But in its labs, the company has created a prototype 3-D display wrapped in a cylinder that’s 10 inches tall and has a diameter of 5 inches.

While it’s smaller than a TV, that shape lets you stand anywhere in front of it and see a 3-D image, like a little holographic projection of Princess Leia. You can even reach into the display and turn the objects inside it to see them from all angles.

“If you are looking at a figurine of a head, you can reach out with your hand and rotate that object within the display,” says Smith. “It provides a level of interactivity you haven’t had before.”

The cylindrical 3-D display has a video input, so it can be hooked up to a PC. The video data is supplied from the PC and used to render the object in the display. The image is generated by a graphics processor in real time. The display also has a gesture sensor so you can wave your hands in front of it to change the orientation of the image inside the display. The system can show both static and moving images.

For now, the 3-D display seems like a lab experiment but Sony hopes that eventually it can be find a home in video games, museums and advertising.



Acroban Robot
The Acroban robot is no Marvin, the Paranoid Android. Instead, Acroban promises a sunny personality that’s just right for kids.

The Acroban, a robot created by INRIA, the French Institute for research in computer science, is “playful and compliant.” Through its interactions with humans, the robot can maintain its balance, thanks to a vertebral column and hips and ankles that are designed to mimic the human body.

The most interesting part of the robot is how well it reacts to situations that would seem almost normal in a human context. For instance, when the robot is walking, a person can hold the robot arm and drive it in any direction easily. It’s like steering children who are just learning to walk, says the researchers.

All of this is done without providing the robot with any sort of verbal command. As the robot gets more sophisticated, it can move objects and interact with children, almost becoming a friend to them, say the researchers.




Floating-Face Hologram
Heads floating in space chatting with those around them might seem like a scene out of Harry Potter. Or it could be an experiment to see how people interact with holograms.

Holorad, a Salt Lake City company, can create 3-D holographic images that float in space and don’t require special glasses. The company teamed up with Disney Research to create eight floating heads. As a user talks into a microphone, a floating head appears and chats back.

Sounds creepy, right? Well, prepare yourself for the future. Someday, the technology could be used in theme parks and retail stores to draw in consumers.


This last one is pretty revolutionary, I think...



Smart Laser Projector
The next generation of laser projectors will not just send information but also gather data at the same time. As it sends out laser beams to form an image, the Smart Laser Projector also acts as a probe assessing the shape, position, orientation and texture of a surface.

The advantage is that it can improve interactive displays, because it does not require projector-camera calibration or tracking the projection surface separately.



Some seriously cool stuff here, I think. The smart laser, 360-degree 3D image, and the advent of an in-air-typing interface are all inching us closer and closer to the technology we've seen in movies and shows for so long.
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SectionMR2



Joined: 11 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More! Very Happy This shit is advancing pretty quick. It's impressive. Both of these are from Gizmodo, and are about cloaking technology.

At last, you can make things disappear. Scientists have created a device for disappearing unwanted objects. The crazy part is that it can make objects seem to appear as well.

Physicist Che Ting Chan, of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, told New Scientist:

Invisibility is just an illusion of free space, of air. We are extending that concept. We can make it look like not just air but anything we want.
With his equations, he can make visibility an illusion as well.

The device — which exists only as a design so far — would use existing metamaterial technology . It would create a series of filters that first render one object invisible and then another one visible. Continues New Scientist:

To make a cup look like a spoon, for example, light first strikes the cup and is distorted. It then passes through a complementary metamaterial which cancels out the distortions to make the cup seem invisible. The light then moves into a region of the metamaterial that creates a distortion as if a spoon were present. The result is that an observer looking at the cup through the metamaterial would see a spoon.
Although the technology as envisioned is active — requiring a knowing observer to watch the cup through the metamaterial to see the spoon, it could undoubtedly be made passive. The only current technological roadblock is the need for the metamaterial components to be smaller than a micrometer, as that's the wavelength of visible light. Scientists like John Pendry, who first came up with the theory behind invisibility cloaking, thinks that building it is well within the realm of human capacity.

Modified Invisibility Cloak Could Make The Ultimate Illusion [New Scientist]


And nano-mesh!

"Invisibility cloaks" have been in development for years, but keep hitting a major roadblock — the materials used absorb too much light. New research may have found the trick to get around that, and get us our cloaking devices.

The premise of cloaking devices hinge on metamaterials — materials which are engineered to have abilities not found in nature. This stuff of superheroic legend can be created for any number of purposes — and one of the most prominent is to have a refraction index of below one, or ideally below zero. In other words, light doesn't refract when it hits them, which would be invaluable for creating ultra-sensitive lenses, microscopes powerful enough to see DNA, better solar panels, and usable invisibility.



The problem is that the materials used in the construction of metamaterials — notably gold and silver — absorb too much light, making them remarkably inefficient. That's where the research of Shumin Xiao of Purdue University comes in. In research published this week in Nature, the scientists discovered a way to make the metamaterials massively more efficient.


These metamaterial cloakers are made up of repeating layers of silver and aluminum oxide, in a fishnet-like film with holes of 100nm. Where most previous work involved adding another layer of material to boost the light — which wasn't efficient enough to counter the loss — the Purdue researchers went a different route. They etched away at the aluminum oxide between the silver layers, and filled it with a special dye that can amplify light when used at a sufficiently small scale. Putting this dye inside the layers rather than above created a 50x increase in its efficiency.

Vladimir M. Shalaev, Purdue's Robert and Anne Burnett Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said:

"What's really important is that the absorption coefficient can be as small as only one-millionth of what it was before using our approach. We can even have amplification of light instead of its absorption. Here, for the first time, we showed that metamaterials can have a negative refractive index and amplify light."
However, manufacture of this new metamaterial is hardly an easy task. The maximum amount of aluminum oxide has to be removed, but enough has to remain behind to keep structural stability; and the dye layer has to be precisely placed, and not more than 50nm thick.

While this research is funded by the U.S. Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation, given the difficulty manufacturing it, it might be a while yet before invisible soldiers stalk the battlefields.
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