Highlights from Interbike 2014

Virtual Reality

MIT's Media Lab has come up with an interactive play learning environment for kids, which ...

In an increasingly tech-centric world, keeping kids interested in learning can be an uphill battle. With teaching that involves play recently attracting some powerful supportive voices, students from MIT's Media Lab have developed a system which merges technology and play to stimulate young minds. The Playtime Computing system uses infrared emitters and tracking cameras to monitor the position of a special robot within a play area. As the bot disappears into a hole in a panel, it appears to continue its journey into a virtual world projected onto the walls.  Read More

Mommy Tummy is a pregnancy simulation suit, on display at Tokyo Make Meeting

One of the more popular exhibits at Tokyo Make Meeting this past weekend was Mommy Tummy, a pregnancy experience simulation system developed by Kosaka Laboratory of Kanazawa Technical College. It allows men (and others who have never carried a child) to not just feel what it's like to be pregnant, but to also gradually experience the changes. The Mommy Tummy suit is pumped full of water, and the onscreen display updates you as to how far along your pregnancy has progressed. The man's breasts will get bigger as well – did I just write that? – via a pair of inflatable balloons on the front.  Read More

Motus allows users to act as a cameraperson  inside existing 3D models, such as video game...

In the creation of the film Avatar, director James Cameron invented a system called Simul-cam. It allowed him to see the video output of the cameras, in real time, but with the human actors digitally altered to look like the alien creatures whom they were playing. The system also negated the need for a huge amount of animation – every performance was captured in all its blue-skinned, pointy-eared majesty as it happened, so it didn’t need to be created from scratch on a computer. Now, researchers from the University of Abertay Dundee have built on the techniques pioneered by Simul-cam to create a new system, that lets users act as their own cameraperson within a 3D environment.  Read More

UC Berkeley's laser-scanning backpack creates 3D models of buildings, on the fly

Currently, if people wish to obtain a 3D model of an indoor environment, they have to send in a laser-scanning robot or cart that painstakingly makes its way through in a stop-and-start fashion. Depending on the setting, the process can take days or even weeks. Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley, however, have developed a portable laser-scanning backpack that can map an area in the time that it takes for its human wearer to walk through. The project was funded by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Army Research Office, and could be used by military personnel to plan missions into mapped target buildings.  Read More

Greg Dawe demonstrates the HUVR device that lets users see and 'feel' 3D images

It’s not uncommon to see children attempt to reach out and touch objects the first time they don 3D glasses and sit down in front of a 3D TV. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have created a new virtual reality device that enables users to do just that. The relatively low-cost device called the Heads-Up Virtual Reality device (HUVR) combines a consumer 3D HDTV panel and a touch-feedback (haptic) device to enable users not only to see a 3D image, but “feel” it too.  Read More

Air Hair: Virtual Reality haircut simulator

At the 3D and VR Expo in Tokyo last week, a team from the Tokyo Institute of Technology were demonstrating a virtual reality haircut simulator. With a real scissors mechanism and a physical dummy, the simulator would display the virtual hair on screen which falls to the ground as you trim it.  Read More

You, too, could look this cool.

Think you spend too much time online these days? It's only going to get worse as mobile and virtual reality technology gets us connected more often, more inextricably and to the detriment of our 'real world' social lives. Which is why researchers like the guys at Tachi Labs are starting to work on how to break down the benefits of physical human interaction and see how they can be replicated in a virtual world. It's early days yet, so the HaptiHug interface and the rest of the iFeel_IM! Affective Haptics suite are painfully awkward and dorky, but this could be a glimpse into the kinds of technologies that can satisfy some of our needs for physical contact and help keep us sane as more and more of our lives go digital.  Read More

Bruce Willis in the movie 'Surrogates'. Art imitating life, or vice versa?

Gizmag recently took part in a virtual round table with futurist Dr James Canton and prosthetics expert Randall Alley to look at the role robots - particularly surrogate robots - will play in mankind’s future. The fascinating discussion ranged from the technology itself through to security issues and ethics surrounding the implementation of surrogate robots in our future societies. So when will you be able to send your robotic surrogate-self to the shop for a loaf of bread while you relax in front of the TV?  Read More

The Vuzix Wrap 920 glasses are compatible with many video devices to deliver a virtual cin...

Can’t afford a big screen TV or projector but still want to experience that cinema feeling when watching a movie? The Vuzix Wrap 920 video eyewear is a sunglass-style display that delivers a virtual 67-inch screen as seen from 10ft away, displays 2D and 3D video and is claimed to be the most advanced wearable display available.  Read More

The CyberWalk omni-directional treadmill is like a conveyor belt of conveyor belts

Jogging on the spot has gone high tech thanks to an omni-directional treadmill that allows you to walk in any direction while staying centered on the treadmill. When coupled with virtual reality (VR) technology it offers the potential for truly natural walking and immersion in virtual environments.  Read More

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