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.

Gesture recognition without displays

Pattie Maes from MIT has developed a portable device with a camera and beamer that is able to capture information from the environment and project extra information on it while you're wearing four colored markers on your fingers. This video is full of interesting examples where this could be useful, but especially the example where you're just walking on a bridge and put your fingers in the air making a 'photographic' gesture, which then snapshots the environment in a picture... That's awesome.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Soon, brands will not only recognize our identity, not only our faces, walks, voices, they will also recognize on special expressions and other gestures. It won’t take too long now…

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Touch panel that responds to approaching speed

Mitsubishi latest technology promises to detect the distance between a finger and the touch panel to allow for a whole host of new interface options. That's done with the aid of an array of sensors that can also be used to calculate the speed at which the finger is approaching, and allow for a so-called "mouse-over function," which would essentially let your finger control a cursor without actually touching the screen -- something Mitsubishi says would be ideal for devices with small screens. Currently, it is just in prototype form (currently a 5.7-inch capacitive VGA display).

Ford patents digital emotions

Ford has filed a patent called "Emotive Text-to-Speech System and Method" describing a system that can not only simulate emotion when reading out directions and describing traffic problems, but could also detect the emotion of the operator of the car and interact with them in ways designed to, oh, soothe a little road rage. The avatar is said to "appear to become frustrated" if the driver is a lead-foot, and may say "Your driving is hurting my fuel efficiency." Or, if a driver is going too fast, the dash-bound assistant could turn blue, ask what's wrong, and suggest a more direct route to their destination.

Transparant displays

Scientists at Philips Research are currently progressing towards the development of transparent OLEDs. Now Philips show us some picture from the new windows as light application.

This means OLED panels could function as ordinary windows during the day and then morph into panels of light after dark, either by imitating natural light or by emitting attractive interior lighting.

During the day, people would be able to create their own private area by turning transparent glass walls, windows or doors into walls of light whenever they liked. Transparent OLED panels are expected to emerge onto the market within the next 3
to 5 years.

Virtual receptionist

Laura, a virtual receptionist, shown off as part of Microsoft's vision for the future, recognises individual people, faces, voices and aks questions.

Quadcopters set up ad-hoc wireless network

Researchers at Germany's Ilmenau University of Technology are developing flying quadcopter robots that can be used to form a self-assembling ad-hoc wireless network in the event of disaster. Built with off-the-shelf parts (including VIA's Pico-ITX hardware and a GPS unit) the robots are designed to provide both mobile phone and WiFi access -- and they can do it far more quickly than a technician on the ground might be able to.

The device comes in a kit for €300 (about $380), which includes all but the battery -- the batteries currently run around €1,000 (over $1200) and only offer up 20 minutes of flight time. Once the device has found a perch, however, it can operate for "several hours."

Intelligent floor for VR use

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

One of the big problems facing VR is the issue of mobility—how do you allow users unrestricted movement in virtual reality, while keeping them relatively static in real reality? Researchers at the University of Tsukuba in Japan have developed something called CirculaFloor. The system uses four robotic tiles that constantly shift position, ensuring that there’s always a tile in the direction you’re headed. Additionally, the entire assembly moves slowly backwards, giving one the impression of movement while they’re actually standing relatively still. The tiles also incorporate lifts, for simulating staircases and the like.

Future vision Microsoft

A future vision from Microsoft.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Everything will react to everything. Microsoft nicely shows how everything responds to touch.

But in 2020 it’ll go a step further. Screens will react to your position, to what you say, to how you look, how you move and even how you smell. That’s only very limitedly shown in this video and we’ll see from this year that it’ll go in a different direction.

Artificial nose

Researchers have developed a variety of chemical sensing technologies, or artificial noses. So far, though, these devices work only for a limited range or a certain class of chemicals, and are typically stymied by mixtures of chemicals.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Artificial noses will be part of our extented sensory system, like contact lenses and hearing aids, like virtual reality glasses and 3D sound ear plugs. We will be able to smell odors better than dogs can, enabling us to smell the presence of others, now or just a few hours ago. It will also enable us to detect illnesses, of ourselves or others. And it will help us to train our olfactory organ, restoring our natural capability to use this sense to make decisions in daily life, for example in communication with others.

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Location tracking IN buildings

Using the so-called BEAM 3D mapping software developed by two students of the Engineering College of Aarhus you can determine your location in a building. The software works together with 3d sensor hung in the building. You also need a 3D map of the building.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Later on, there’ll be sensors – let me call them ‘location-IDs’, everywhere. All electricity, for example a plug connection, broadcasts a location. And you can tape a piece of tape that works on solar energy and broadcasts on location to the wall with the greatest ease. Identifiers will determine their own location based on other IDs in the building. And maps of every building, every house will be standardly available later on. We’ll truly never get lost again.

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Speech technology a little more real

IBM Research has registered a new patent which makes speech synthesis a little more natural. Listen to a demo. It adds in coughs automatically and there are stops and random pauses. The differences are so small they're barely noticeable. According to IBM the voices are almost impossible to separate from real voices.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Image synthesis and speech synthesis are the easiest parts of building artificial life in a virtual world. Recognising objects, people, animals is a little more complex and there are plenty of meanings in this too. Being able to understand complex human communication and the abstract concepts we talk of, that’s a whole step further. Many steps further. But it’ll come too. Once we understand this properly we can talk automatedly about the most complicated subjects in any language, in any accent. That’s coming. It’s coming.

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PSP shows reruns in stadium

Arsenal, an English soccer club, is working together with Sony to create an application that'll make it possible for viewers to watch reruns in the stadium via their PlayStation Portable (PSP).

With a PSP and the application developed by Sony, it's possible for visitors to the Emirates Stadium to watch the game as live-stream on their PSP. With the necessary statistics and of course the instant replays shortly after a goal or other highlight.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Physical world and virtual world will blend seamlessly. Later on we’ll be able to ‘zoom’, but not just from where we’re sitting, from every position. We can go back in time, the moment everyone entered if need be. And make contact with others, in the stadium or at home. Or we’ll see extra people walking on the field, or animals, or objects. You name it. But for now this first has to become live.

Icons with everything you see

The University of Ljubljana as developed a system which makes icons appear on objects you see in your environment. This through very clever pattern recognition.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

We’ll be able to ask spoken questions with everything we see. In any language. This is another step in that direction.

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Multi-media watch

LG has shown a prototype of the LD GD910 3G HDSPA phone. In layman's terms: a wrist phone watch with a touchscreen that shows multi-media and is constantly connected to the outside world. You can play movies, music, make video calls, send text messages, play games and even see the time. The watch also has speech recognition through a microphone or a bluetooth headset. The watch will appear on the European market this year.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

For an evening out, this watch will be enough in time. You can see what there is to do in the evening, see where your friends are, call them, order something in the pub and pay with it. You can check whether someone in the neighbourhood is open for a date. And finally you can call a cab with the press of a button. No mobile phone necessary anymore. A design-hit further and this’ll be the hit of 2010.

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Expression, affection and cognition measured and used

In this movie, Tan Le of emotive systems demonstrates how someone, by thinking of something can really move objects (on a screen). She expects the first applications with gamers. I see a radical change of human existence in the long term.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The moment we start to measure our brains, and we bring the subconscious into the conscious mind, we’ll be able to do brilliant things, we’ll be able to train our brain a way that still seems impossible, we’ll be able to do things that are currently considered to be ‘miracles’. Remembering all names of a couple of hundred people at the same time, counting the amount of pins falling to the floor, or knowing the number pi to a few thousand numbers after the comma. It’ll all be in our reach later. Well, for us? Actually for the generations in 2050. The time of Pamper Planet.

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