The next logical step in the development of 3D technology is to produce a userface where the consumer can play and manipulate 3D objects, just like Minority Report, allowing the the user to drag, swipe, and interact with the images in front of him. Sounds a little far fetched? Well it isn’t light years away as Russian company DisplAir have drawn first blood in the race to develop 3D tech with the first working prototype of a multi-touch 3D userface.
Previously on Humans Invent we brought you Aerial 3D, a technology that uses lasers to project images onto the air in front of you, creating moving shapes that are really three dimensional. The powerful lasers are focused onto points in the air, which superheats the air to create plasma, which emits light so that we can see it in front of us, meaning no more screens. But DisplAir have moved the idea forward one step, by developing a 3D userface prototype that you can interact with – it is quite simply the closest technology to the gesture interface used by Tom Cruise in Minority Report.
The technology uses an infared camera, a projector, and cold fog to project the 3D images and capture the user’s hand movements as they interact with them. So essentially the user can “press” items to select them, drag objects, swipe things, and even use two hands to make objects larger and smaller – producing the worlds first reactionary 3D image touch screen userface.
The tech breakthrough was bizarrely developed in a dormitory in Russia, and while the first working prototype is a little rough around the edges, the technology is still remarkably impressive. The userface was developed to detect small finger movements instead of sweeping hand gestures, being designed to scan for 1,500 points of contact with accuracy up to 1 cm, depending on the size of the screen that can range from 40 to 140 inches.
Improvements are needed though as there is a 0.2 second lag before your movements have an effect, while the fog also creates a “fringing” effect on the periphery of the projection. But the founder and CEO of DisplAir Maxim Kamanin is very hopeful that with investment the technology can be developed to be used in not just the advertisement and entertainment industry, but the medical sector as well.
If mass manufactured the device would cost between $4000 and $30 000, depending on the size of the screen, with the company currently capable of producing 40-140 inch screens. Having developed this breakthrough technology on small government grants, the largest being $30, 000, the company is currently looking for investors in order to begin increased development, with the ultimate aim being an interactive 3D userface that we could all use in our home.
DisplAir are the first to add interativity to the fog screen technology – creating a unique multi-touch 3D screen. Previously only Finnish company FogScreen had developed the fog technology, using it to create a wow factor at entertainment and retail events. But that was it – the technology was used purely as an act of showmanship.
However the company are currently in development with Czech partners ScreenRental to produce a multi-touch laser scanner technology that can react to your body movements – with the idea it could be used for special effects – take a look below.
The race to create a userface in which the consumer can manipulate and immerse themselves in images has begun, with the possibility of mimicking Tom Cruise in Minority Report an achievable reality – but like any innovation, heavy investment will be needed to get this technology off the ground. Let’s not get too excited just yet…