Photokina 2014 highlights

Kinect

Matterport's 3D scanning technology claims to be 20 times faster and 18 times cheaper than...

It may be based on apparently familiar technology, but Y Combinator startup Matterport reckons it's putting its 3D scanning technology, which it claims can scan real environments into 3D digital representations 20 times faster than the competition, to innovative use. "We turn reality into 3D models and our scanner is 20 times faster and 18 times cheaper than any other tool on the market," Matterport co-founder Michael Beebe claimed at the Y Combinator 2012 demo day at the end of March. And though that claim might be pushing it slightly - 3D scanners have been around for the better part of two decades - the technology demonstrated in Matterport's demo video is remarkable.  Read More

Whole Foods is testing a Kinect-powered shopping cart that will follow shoppers around and...

When Chaotic Moon Labs debuted the Kinect-powered Board of Awesomeness - and its mind-reading offspring, the Board of Imagination - that was apparently just a preview of a more practical product the company had in the works. Grocery store chain, Whole Foods, recently gave a demonstration of Chaotic Moon's latest device, which uses the same technology in a self-propelled shopping cart. The "Smarter Cart," as its been named, can detect what items are placed in it, match those to a shopping list, and even follow shoppers around the store on its own.  Read More

A Kinect-driven prototype desktop environment by the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group allo...

A see-through screen, digital 3D objects manipulated by hand, perspective adjustments according to the user's viewing angle - these are the core features of a prototype computer desktop user interface created by Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group. The prototype uses a "unique" Samsung transparent OLED display through which the user can see their own hands to manipulate 3D objects which appear to be behind the screen.  Read More

LightBeam allows physical objects, such as a water bottle, to act as a control for the pic...

Pico projectors might be able to turn any old surface into a display – with varying results of course – but can they turn any old surface into in interactive display and everyday objects into a remote? No? Well, with LightBeam they can. Developed by a team at Germany’s Technische Universität Darmstadt, LightBeam pairs a pico projector with a depth-sensing camera to provide some Kinect style interactive control to projected presentations.  Read More

Illustration from the patent application showing how virtual objects could be inserted int...

A recently published patent application indicates that Sony may be working on a Kinect-like 3D depth-sensing device for PlayStation. If Sony follows through with development of such a device, it will no doubt be looking to make up some ground lost to Microsoft, whose release of the Kinect in November 2010, overshadowed the release of Sony’s PlayStation Move just a month earlier.  Read More

Jordan Correa, a robotics developer with Microsoft, built a dog-sitting robot that lets th...

When Jordan Correa and his wife both started working full time, they found themselves away from their home much more often, leaving their dog, Darwin, alone all day. Most people would have just had to leave the problem as is, or maybe get a part time pet sitter. But Correa, being a test developer for the Microsoft Robotics Team, came up with a solution right in line with his talents and built a dog-sitting robot, so he could play and speak with his pet over the internet while he's at work.  Read More

Visitors to the Live Park 4D World Tour wear RFID wristbands that allow the displays to id...

New media entertainment company, d'strict, is pushing the concept of virtual reality to a new level with the "Live Park 4D World Tour," a new theme park that recently opened in South Korea. The park is comprised of 65 different attractions over a 10,000 sq. foot (929 sq m) space, which houses several large interactive displays as well as some installation art pieces. Visitors wear RFID wristbands that allow the displays to identify them, while Kinect sensors detect their movements, voices, and faces. Many of the attractions center around having users create an avatar of themselves that they can interact with and take on a virtual adventure, which is portrayed using 3D video, holograms, and augmented reality technology.  Read More

The CHIP House's most striking feature is the insulation fitted around the home, which mak...

The CHIP House - which stands for "Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype" - was started with the goal of creating a net-zero energy home (i.e. one that requires no external energy source), and it looks like the designers exceeded that target. The house actually generates three times as much energy as it uses thanks to solar panels and a host of energy saving measures. The incredibly energy efficient design would make the house stand out on its own, but the integrated Kinect controls and smart features push the CHIP House above your typical green-conscious home and into "home of the future" material.  Read More

Bootstrapper uses depth cameras to capture images of a user's shoes to compare against a d...

Facial recognition might be all the rage in giving computer systems the ability to ascertain the identity of individuals - what with most people having different facial features and all. But a team from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, has taken a different approach to identify users of touch-based tabletop computers like Microsoft's Surface. Instead of focusing on the face, the team has looked in the opposite direction to develop a system known as Bootstrapper which distinguishes between users based on their footwear.  Read More

Whooaaa boy - the rider puts the brakes on the 'Board of Awesomeness'

When Microsoft asked gamers to get off the couch and get moving with the release of the Kinect motion controller in 2010, it’s doubtful that zooming around the streets at speeds of up to 32 mph (51 km/h) was the kind of movement they had in mind. But as we’ve seen ever since unofficial open source drivers hit the Internet in 2010 and Microsoft came to the party with its official Kinect for Windows SDK last year, the Kinect has proven to be a remarkably flexible device. That flexibility now extends to a motion control interface for a motorized electric skateboard modestly dubbed by its creators, the “Board of Awesomeness.”  Read More

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