SIGGRAPH 2011 Emerging Technologies: Interacting with the Future

CHICAGO — (BUSINESS WIRE) — May 26, 2011 — The SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies program is home to the latest developments in technology, including haptics, displays, robotics, and artificial intelligence. This year will feature 23 of the latest innovations selected by a jury of industry experts from more than 100 submissions. Topics range from displays and input devices to collaborative environments. SIGGRAPH 2011 takes place 7-11 August at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Face-to-Avatar Hiroaki Tobita and Shigeaki Maruyama; Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.

Face-to-Avatar Hiroaki Tobita and Shigeaki Maruyama; Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.

"The SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies program is unique in its interactive approach that allows people to experience the most cutting-edge developments first-hand,” said Cole Krumbholz, SIGGRAPH 2011 Emerging Technologies Chair and co-founder of Koduco Games. “This year, conference attendees will experience the latest achievements from industry and university research labs.”

A preview video of the SIGGRAPH 2011 Emerging Technologies program is available.

Featured highlights from the SIGGRAPH 2011 Emerging Technologies:

Face-to-Avatar

Hiroaki Tobita and Shigeaki Maruyama; Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.

This floating avatar system integrates a blimp with a virtual avatar to create a unique system of telepresence. The blimp avatar contains several pieces of equipment, including a projector and a speaker as the output functions. Users communicate with others by presenting their facial images through the projector and voices through the speaker. A camera and microphone attached to the blimp provide the input function and support the user’s manipulation from a distance.

The user’s presence is more dramatic than a conventional virtual avatar (CG and image) because the avatar is a physical object and moves freely in the real world. In addition, the user’s senses are augmented because the blimp detects dynamic information in the real world. For example, the camera provides a special floating view to the user, and the microphone collects a wide variety of sounds such as conversations and environmental noise.

Potential Future Use: Allows the user to have a moveable, physical presence in the real world from even the most remote location.

Volumetric Display Based on Vibrating Mylar Beam Splitter and LED Backlit LCD

Lanny Smoot, Quinn Smithwick, and Daniel Reetz; Disney Research

This new volumetric display produces full-color, high-spatial-resolution aerial images in front of the apparatus. It is based on a new optical element: the large, tunable-resonance, edge-driven, varifocal beam splitter.

This new display technology uses a circular Mylar beam splitter and adds a tension-adjusting metal hoop pressed against its surface. The beam splitter is adjusted, with high Q, to a specific resonance frequency. Three rim-mounted impulse drivers apply low-amplitude sinusoldal drive. Due to the high Q, the diaphram's sympathetic vibration is large. The beam splitter folds the optical path, and the system includes a fixed-curvature concave mirror to create real images that appear out in front of the apparatus.

It produces high-quality 3D images that occupy a one-third-meter cube 1/3 meter out in front of the apparatus. The image is viewable over a 30-degree viewing angle.

Potential Future Use: Advancements in 3D displays will impact many fields from medical research to gaming.

A Medical Mirror for Non-Contact Health Monitoring

Ming-Zher Poh, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology; Daniel McDuff and Rosalind Picard, MIT Media Lab

Digital medical devices promise to transform the future of medicine with their ability to produce exquisitely detailed individual physiological data. As ordinary people gain access to and control over their own physiological data, they can play a more active role in diagnosing and managing their health. This revolution must take place in our everyday lives, not just in the doctor’s office or research lab. This project starts in the home environment by transforming everyday objects into health-sensing technology.

The Medical Mirror is a novel interactive interface that tracks and displays a user’s heart rate in real time without the need for external sensors. Currently, collection of physiological information requires users to strap on bulky sensors, chest straps, or sticky electrodes. The Medical Mirror allows contact-free measurements of physiological information using a basic imaging device. When a user looks into the mirror, an image sensor detects and tracks the location of his or her face over time. By combining techniques in computer vision and advanced signal processing, the user’s heart rate is then computed from the optical signal reflected off the face. The user’s heart rate is displayed on the mirror, allowing visualization of both the user’s physical appearance and physiological state.

This project illustrates an innovative approach to pervasive health monitoring based on state-of-the-art technology. The Medical Mirror fits seamlessly into the ambient home environment, blending the data collection process into the course of daily routines. It is intended to provide a convenient way for people to track their daily health when they use the mirror for shaving, brushing teeth, etc.

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