Although the recent ‘bigger than the internet’ technological developments in 3D printing has the clear potential to literally form some very interesting concepts, an innovation showcased by Microsoft could eventually offer a unique alternative for 3DTV viewers.
With the American company funding a team of local scientists in their mission, the ‘Natural Interaction Research’ group claim to have developed a primitive form of ‘touchable 3D’. The technology, which as it suggests enables users to ‘reach out and feel’ an object featured on-screen for a ‘multi-touch’ and ‘stereo-vision’ 3D display.
The focal point of these developments is ‘kinaesthetic haptic sense’, a method of feedback designed to ‘mimic the sensation’ that different materials provide, with the senses provided giving the virtual objects varying properties based upon the real-world versions of such textures. Examples given in a ‘blindfolded test’ conducted by the group found that users could determine the objects they were ‘feeling’ by touch alone, with featured items including soft ‘spongy items’, and difficult to push/hard to touch ’stone blocks’.
Mike Sinclair, a researcher on the project, summarised: “They couldn’t see anything, and the shapes were simple objects. We knew beforehand that complicated objects wouldn’t work, but some of the objects were reasonably sophisticated; a pyramid, a wedge, a cylinder. I’d say these results were the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the project.”
While commercial versions of such technology is believed to be a far-off concept, the early developments suggest that something interesting is in the works, but a very real concept… or not, you’d probably have to ask the people who have worked on or tested the technology, at least they have ‘felt’ it… or not, since 3d projections are not actually ‘real’, it would just be an effect created by your mind… or would it? You can feel your mind being blown by these developments…