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Disney Research

A Paper Generator is used to reveal an e-ink greeting

Disney Research, Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University have released details of another one of their collaborative projects, this one involving thin, flexible generators that can be built into paper items such as the pages of a book. By simply rubbing or tapping one of these pages, users can illuminate LEDs, prompt applications on linked computers, or even activate e-ink displays – no batteries or outlets required.  Read More

A user of Disney's new system is able to feel the ridges in a trilobite fossil, even thoug...

Our smartphones and tablets may be able to show us what things look and sound like, but with their flat glass screens, there's no way that they could indicate what something feels like ... right? Actually, they may soon be able to do that, too. Researchers at Disney Research, Pittsburgh have developed a system that lets users' fingertips feel a simulated bump through a flat screen, that corresponds to a bump in the displayed image.  Read More

A Lumitrack sensor-equipped controller is used to control an on-screen airplane

Motion-tracking systems like Wii and Kinect have certainly changed the way we play video games – among other things – but some people still complain that there's too much of a lag between real-world player movements and the corresponding in-game movements of the characters. The creators of the experimental Lumitrack system, however, claim that it has much less lag time than existing systems ... plus it's highly accurate and should be cheap to commercialize.  Read More

Ishin-Den-Shin lets a person hear a recorded spoken message through a finger (Photo: Disne...

Forget using tape recorders and smartphones to play back spoken messages – what if you could simply hear them through a finger? Disney researcher Ivan Poupyrev has come up with a system that allows for just that. Using the human body as a sound transmitter, the technology lets you hear audio messages when someone touches your ear with their finger. Even more strikingly, it also lets you hear those spoken messages off the surface of any ordinary object you might touch, like a knife or a ring.  Read More

Aireal is a new haptic technology from Disney Research

With systems like the Kinect and Leap Motion, controlling a gadget with just the wave of a hand is starting to become much more commonplace. The one drawback to those gesture-based devices however is that you never actually touch anything. No matter what you see on the screen, you're still very aware that you're just moving your hands through the air. The Pittsburg branch of Disney Research may be able to change that with Aireal, a low-cost haptic system which fires out small rings of air that allow people to feel virtual objects.  Read More

With Disney Research's new software, even complex movements like four-legged walking can b...

Mechanized characters, such as clockwork automatons that move using a series of gears, go back hundreds of years. Now the most difficult aspect of their mechanical design, which took specialized engineering skill and lots of trial and error, has largely been eliminated by a pair of new software tools developed by Disney Research labs in Zürich and Boston, and labs at ETH Zürich and MIT. They're being presented this week at ACM SIGGRAPH 2013, the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.  Read More

A human artist's sketch (left), and the computer's attempt at a drawing of the same face d...

Last year, we heard about an industrial robot that was able to create pencil sketches of human subjects. In that case, it utilized algorithms that identified the boundaries between areas of high and low contrast on each subject’s face. Now, however, scientists at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, have taken things a bit further. They’ve created a computer tool that not only produces digital sketches, but it also copies the style of specific human artists as it does so.  Read More

Disney's algorithm at work

Disney Research has developed an algorithm which can generate 3D computer models from 2D images in great detail, sufficient, it says, to meet the needs of video game and film makers. The technology requires multiple images to capture the scene from a variety of vantage points.  Read More

The robot matches the type of hand-off with the most appropriate response in its database

They may not make for the showiest videos, but some of the most interesting problems in robotics are to do with the subtleties of human interaction. Even something as apparently simple as receiving an object poses great difficulty, but it's a problem that will need to be solved before multipurpose robots are ready for the home. By building a database of captured human motion, Disney Research and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are making strides towards building a robot that can take an object handed to it by a human.  Read More

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