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Your Future Is Now!

Erwin predicts, writes about the future & developments today.

Category: Media Technology

New technology which will be available for consumers in a while. In their homes or in other places. Maybe patents have been filed just now, maybe it has been demonstrated somewhere or maybe it is currently used in commercial applications.

Throwing balls to TV’s make it interactive

Although this is a 2006 video, it definitely shows the future of TV.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

All screens, including our BIG screens in our living rooms, will respond to EVERYTHING we do: where we point our fingers, how our whole body expresses an emotion and what we shout we walk along various screens. All our input will be added up, modeled and interpreted by brands, virtual entities on the other side of the screen,

This example might be funny but it absolute part of our future.

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Helium3D is the next 3D step for Natal

A revolutionary interactive 3DTV system is being created by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), England, researchers. The €4.2 million (approx £3.7 million) project aims to develop a television that can recognise where somebody is sitting in a room and what they wish to view and interact with on their television.

Researchers believe it is a step towards truly interactive 3D video games where gamers use their bodies to control the action without the need for a controller. It could be the next step for Microsoft's Project Natal.

The project, called HELIUM3D (high efficiency, laser-based, multi-user, multi-modal 3D display) is also exploring ways of allowing viewers who are watching the same television to each view a different channel at the same time and could even let them choose different viewing positions within the image.

For example, groups of people watching a football match in the same room could each pick the part of the stadium from which they would like to experience the action.

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Glasses that track eye movements

German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems have embedded a head-mounted microdisplay into a pair of glasses—allowing the user to access and manipulate data with simple eye movements.

The [CMOS] chip measuring 19.3 by 17 millimeters is fitted on the prototype eyeglasses behind the hinge on the temple. From the temple the image on the microdisplay is projected onto the retina of the user so that it appears to be viewed from a distance of about one meter. The image has to outshine the ambient light to ensure that it can be seen clearly against changing and highly contrasting backgrounds. For this reason the research scientists use OLEDs, organic light-emitting diodes, to produce microdisplays of particularly high luminance.

Wearers could scroll through menus, shift elements and pull up new info by simply focusing on a particular area or moving their eyes in a specific way.

‘Nanoball’ batteries could recharge car in minutes, your mobile in seconds



THE next generation of plug-in hybrid cars could recharge in minutes, thanks to a new type of battery.

Lithium ion cells are used in portable gadgets and the latest hybrid cars as they are light and can be repeatedly charged and discharged with little degradation. But as with all batteries, charging takes some time. That's because it involves detaching lithium ions from the cathode at one end of the battery and absorbing them at the anode; pulling the ions from the cathode is normally a slow process.

Now Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have revealed an experimental battery that charges about 100 times as fast as normal lithium ion batteries. Their battery contains a cathode made up of tiny balls of lithium iron phosphate, each just 50 nanometres across. The balls quickly release lithium ions as the battery charges, which travel across an electrolyte towards the anode. As the battery discharges, the lithium ions move back across the cell to be re-absorbed by the nanoballs.

Apple patents Fingerprint identification

Apple has filed a patent for biometric authentication (checking after identification) including installation of a hidden sensor behind the screen that would recognize the user's fingerprint when touched, and / or a front-facing camera for retinal recognition. The filing also suggests further possibilities, such as the device being capable of recognizing the user's voice, or collecting DNA samples for recognition via genetic code.

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Breakthrough in computer speed

Researchers from Edinburgh and Manchester University have created a molecular machine that could be used to develop quantum computers for making "intricate calculations" far more quickly than current supercomputers. Essentially, the reseachers relied on molecular scale technology instead of silicon chips; more specifically, they achieved the so-called breakthrough by "combining tiny magnets with molecular machines that can shuttle between two locations without the use of external force." Not surprisingly, there's still more work to be done, with Professor David Leigh of Edinburgh University noting that "the major challenges we face now are to bring many of these qubits together to build a device that could perform calculations, and to discover how to communicate between them."

Vibrating jacket

Researchers from Philips Electronics plan to describe a jacket they have lined with vibration motors to study the effects of touch on a movie viewer's emotional response to what the characters are experiencing. The jacket contains 64 independently controlled actuators distributed across the arms and torso. The actuators are arrayed in 16 groups of four and linked along a serial bus; each group shares a microprocessor. The actuators draw so little current that the jacket could operate for an hour on its two AA batteries even if the system was continuously driving 20 of the motors simultaneously."

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Two displays instanteneously?

This collaboration of two displays is very intruiging. When holding an transparant object like a piece of paper or glass, above the big screen, it shows a totally different image. Here's the trick:

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Australia starts ambitious Fiber to the Home project

Australia is skipping the halfway house of so called ‘fibre to the node’, and will now bring the fibre network straight to people’s homes, FttH: Fiber to the Home. This is the most ambitious infrastructure ever undertaken in Australia and will be the most ambitious FttH network anywhere undertaken in the world. Cost of the project: $43 billion AU$ (22 billion Euro, 30 billion US$).

The big work will require replacing the copper cables that are going into people’s homes by fibre. Examples from around the world have indicated that it is very difficult to build a business plan around this but the government is taking the sting out of this by basically guaranteeing the investment money for the project and also indicating the use of the infrastructure for other sectors (healthcare, etc).


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This will really boost the economy of Australia. It’ll transform an economy that is now largely driven by natural resources to an economy that sells and delivers virtual experiences to the whole world. Australian entrepreneurs will soon sell immersive interactive experiences via all kind of interactive screens and projections (of which we now see predecessors such as games, interactive movies or virtual learning environments). These kind of experiences have we never seen before.


Australia has some other strong points that empowers this country to be extremely successful in the years after the introduction of the FttH network:

  • The English language. This might seem a little bit obvious but this holds for example Korea or the Netherlands, both equipped with strong broadband networks, to offer their services worldwide.
  • Strong ties between individual people all across the world on a personal and professional level. 25% of the residents in Australia are not even born here! These strong ties will lead to business partnerships, trade and very fast word-of-mouth marketing.
  • The movie industry. Although small, Australia has a movie industry. The impact in the world of new media is immediately visible: professional video is much more integrated in the lives of media professionals than in, for example, the Netherlands. When traditional distribution of movies and games will disappear and content will be tapped (and paid) per minute, Australia can distribute video content to individuals all across the world.
  • The long distances: The long distances within the country will allow Australia to develop technologies, and business models and test them on the internal market. For example: webbinars (speaking to an online audiences) are much more accepted and popular than in a dense populated country like the Netherlands. When you have successfully developed a long-distance model within a country, the rest of the world is just the next step.
  • The presence of all nationalities in the world who truely work together. Here in Sydney, I’ve personally noticed that all cultures work together on a shared future. People came to Australia from all over the world to build a better life and a better future. This diversity will allow Australia to customise content for the whole world


What a present for me during my last week in Sydney, preparing my migration to Australia!


Erwin van Lun

Apple patents fingerprint identification for iPhone

Apple has developed a new technique that would hide a biometric reader inside an iPhone or a Mac and let owners lock down their systems with fingerprints or even facial recognition -- all without ever having to break from their usual routine.

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Table helps during dating

Carnegie Mellon undergraduates Dan Eisenberg, Kevin Li and Ilya Brin have developed the EyeTable, which is described as "an artificially intelligent dinner table that reads physical gestures and speech patterns and lets the participants know how the date is going—in real time.

The EyeTable is composed of a centerpiece and two headpieces. Sensors placed on these parts detect fluctuations in tone of voice, periods of silence, and distance between the couple. If the EyeTable detects that the date is not going well, it will try to help the couple by suggesting some post-dinner activities or by suggesting another bottle of wine. If the EyeTable detects that the date is beyond help, it will instead give the numbers for the local cab companies.

Robots listens to gestures

Researchers at Brown University have created a robot that recognizes human gestures such as 'stop' and 'follow'.

Writable flexible e-paper display

Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center has developed a bendy display that is touch-sensitive (stylus or finger).

Videophone with eyetracking feels 3D

The Swedish design team TAT (The Astonishing Tribe), has demonstrated a 3D-eyetracking UI that tracks the position of our eyes and changes the display accordingly. This really gives a feeling that objects are behind one another. Earlier the team developed the look and feel of the T-Mobile G1's user interface which included such innovations as the window shade menu and 9-point visual key-lock.

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Real time immerse reality in military vehicles

The Immersive Vision System of MITRE gives drivers of military vehicles an unobstructed, responsive and natural view of their environment without being exposed to the dangers of that environment. A hemispherical camera -- actually a number of 5 stationary side cameras and one on top -- is stitched together in realtime to one single video image that covers all 360 degrees horizontally and 270 degrees vertically, and is projected onto a sphere. A head mounted display matches the exact position and direction and calculates the view and projects that into the glasses. This allows the pilot to move his head naturally, no need for periscopes, joysticks, or any other non-intuitive control interfaces.


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