Fade Out, an eye-catching visual display system developed by media artists Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi, uses laser beams to "print" ephemeral glow-in-the-dark images on a wall-mounted screen coated with photoluminescent paint.
After the computer receives and processes a digital image (in this case, a webcam snapshot), ultraviolet laser beams are fired at the photoluminescent screen to produce square pixels of glowing green light. Subtle gradations are created by controlling the timing of the laser shots and allowing the darker portions of the image to fade. The completed image gradually disappears as the glow of the screen grows dim.
The novelty of the system seems to make it well-suited for use in entertainment and advertising, and the creators are now looking at ways to create glowing images in liquid and on irregular surfaces.
Here is some video of the system being tested on a human face.
Electronics giant NEC has reportedly developed a wearable optical device that interprets foreign languages and projects a real-time translation directly onto the retina, enabling the wearer to communicate with other language speakers without an interpreter.
The prototype device — called “Tele Scouter” — consists of a tiny retinal display and microphone mounted on an eyeglass frame. The microphone picks up the conversation and transmits it to a small computer worn on the waist, which converts the speech to text and translates it into the user’s native language.
The retinal display projects the text directly into the user’s peripheral vision, allowing them to maintain eye contact with their conversation partner while reading the translation. According to the developers, the Tele Scouter can be used for hours on end without eye strain, because the wearer does not have to focus their eye on the displayed text.
Although NEC plans to put a version of the Tele Scouter on the market in 2010, the company admits the device’s translation capabilities are insufficient for real-world applications. So for now, the initial plan is to market the device as a wearable data display for employees in factories and shops.
According to the company, the device can provide instant hands-free access to data such as diagrams and operating instructions, allowing workers to perform tasks more efficiently and accurately. Other possible future applications include car navigation systems and video games.
The system consists of a Holo display (developed by Provision Interactive Technologies), a pair of Wii Remotes that track the position of the user's hand in front of the screen, and an "Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display" unit that shoots focused ultrasonic waves at the hand to create the sensation of pressure on the skin.
By controlling the movement of these focused ultrasonic waves -- which can produce up to 1.6 grams-force of pressure within a 20-millimeter-wide focal point -- the projector can recreate virtual objects that seem to have physical mass. In the video above, the projector displays a tangible virtual bouncing ball, raindrops, and a small creature that runs around on the user's hand.
The tangible hologram projector is now on display at SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans.
Spotted at the International Stationery and Office Products Fair, this eye-catching digital signage system consists of a 0.3-millimeter-thick high-luminance rear-projection film (Vikuiti Rear Projection Film developed by 3M) applied to a 3-millimeter-thick glass substrate cut into the shape of a woman. A rear projector beams video onto the film, whose microbead-arrayed surface produces a crisp, brilliant image viewable from any angle, even in brightly lit environments.
For drowsy train commuters afraid of sleeping past their stop, inventor and manga artist Pyocotan has developed "Noriko-san," a sleep mask with an electronic scrolling display that communicates the wearer's destination to fellow passengers.
Noriko-san is designed to give sleepyheads greater peace of mind (and thus a deeper level of sleep) by increasing the odds that a stranger will wake them in time. In theory, other passengers feel compelled to act either out of courtesy or simply so they can sit in the empty seat left behind. Here's a video of Pyocotan testing a prototype on Tokyo's Yamanote line.
The video shows Pyocotan board the Yamanote line at Nishi-Nippori station. When a seat becomes available, he sits down, slips on the mask and goes to sleep. The mask's scrolling message reads: "I will get off at Mejiro station." Unfortunately, nobody wakes him up when he arrives. The test fails.
Pyocotan admits that Noriko-san is not 100% effective, perhaps because the unusual appearance makes other passengers feel uncomfortable and prevents them from acting. But the device will likely grow more effective as it becomes more widespread, he suggests. Until then, the fact that the mask might encourage others to act makes it a little easier for the user to relax and sleep more soundly.
Noriko-san cost about 20,000 yen ($200) to develop.
IT company Kayac has teamed up with researchers from Keio University to develop a high-tech brainstorming room that listens to its inhabitants and feeds them a barrage of related data and images in order to boost creativity and fuel the imagination.
The system -- called "Kage Roi" -- relies on a speech-recognition capable computer that monitors the brainstorming session via microphone, identifies keywords, and automatically crawls the web in search of related information and images. A ceiling-mounted projector then casts the retrieved data and imagery onto dark, human-shaped shadows on the table during the course of the meeting. The brainstormers can free-associate on the projected data, use it as a tool for discussion, or rely on it for helpful cues if ideas are running short.
Kage Roi also features an ambient, multi-colored LED lighting system designed to stimulate creativity by altering the mood of the room. The "half-day course" setting, for example, simulates the rising and setting of the sun over the course of a 2-hour brainstorming session, helping to create a gradual mood shift as the meeting progresses.
Kayac developed Kage Roi in cooperation with the Keio University Inakage Lab (imgl), whose research focuses on next-generation digital communication and entertainment. The system was installed in a meeting room at Kayac headquarters last month, and the company plans to begin field-testing it soon.
Kayac hopes to develop a practical version of the system in the near future, and they are considering marketing it to companies in the content creation industry.
Next-generation large-screen display manufacturer Shinoda Plasma has unveiled a flexible, 1-millimeter thick, 125-inch film-type prototype display that can be used as a curved or wrap-around screen. The 3 x 1 meter plasma tube array (PTA) display (which actually consists of 3 seamlessly integrated 1 x 1 meter square sub-modules) offers a resolution of 960 x 360 and weighs 3.6 kilograms (8 lbs), or about 10 times less than a conventional plasma display. At a low-key unveiling on May 15, Shinoda Plasma announced plans to exhibit the device in June at the InfoComm 2008 conference in Las Vegas and confirmed their intent to begin small-scale production of a 150-inch (3 x 2 meter) version this autumn. While Shinoda Plasma envisions a variety of digital signage and advertising applications, the ultrathin displays would also undoubtedly make good digital wallpaper for the home.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a smart video goggle system that records everything the wearer looks at, recognizes and assigns names to objects that appear in the video, and creates an easily searchable database of the recorded footage. Designed to function as a high-tech memory aid, these "Cyber Goggles" promise to make the act of losing your keys a thing of the past, according to head researcher professor Tatsuya Harada.
Cyber Goggles are equipped with a compact camera that feeds video to a computer worn on the user's back. The computer records the footage and relies on ultrahigh-speed image recognition processing software to analyze, name and file the objects that appear in the video. Later, when the user types in a keyword to search for a particular item, the corresponding video plays on a tiny LCD screen attached to the right-side lens, helping the user remember the location of the item in question.
In a demonstration at the University of Tokyo last week, 60 everyday items -- including a potted begonia, CD, hammer and cellphone -- were programmed into the Cyber Goggle memory. As the demonstrator walked around the room viewing and recording the various objects, the names of the items appeared on the goggle screen. The demonstrator was then able to do a search for the various items and retrieve the corresponding video.
In addition to functioning as a memory aid for the elderly, Cyber Goggles have a number of other potential uses, says professor Harada. For example, the image recognition processing technology can be used to sift through enormous amounts of video in search of specific images. It might also help in the development of robots with human-like abilities, he says.
On October 31, Mitsubishi Electric unveiled a 2-meter tall, 7.5-meter diameter panoramic display system consisting of synchronized rear-projection displays arranged in a wall that encircles the viewer. The 150 million yen ($1.3 million) system, which was built-to-order at the company's Kyoto factory where it was unveiled, consists of 17 pairs of 67-inch panels arranged in a 340-degree near-circle -- the 20-degree gap presumably allows the viewer to enter and exit the walk-in display. The system uses Texas Instruments Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology and has a total resolution of 27 million (1024 x 768 x 34) pixels.
At the unveiling, Mitsubishi said it will deliver the panoramic display system to the customer early next year, but the company was unwilling to say who the customer was or how they intend to use the display. However, Mitsubishi did say it hopes to begin selling the system as a virtual reality display for use at museums or in applications such as traffic simulations.