Back in May this year, you would have seen our news article on Microsoft’s Illumiroom project, which uses projection and a Kinect to create an immersive space for gaming and films. Despite being every tech lover’s dream, it appears we won’t be seeing this in our living rooms anytime soon, according to a senior Microsoft executive.
According to their head of product planning, the set up could cost up to thousands of dollars per customer, which just isn’t plausible and so for now the concept will remain as “just research”. Despite the Xbox One being launched, there was no specific talk linking to the Illumiroom and apparently many were sceptical due to the average customer not owning a projector for home use. With this and the BBC’s visual equivalent of surround sound mentioned in the last few months, it will be interesting to see if any further developments appear by the end of 2013.
Entering a 3-dimensional world through our screens became all the rage when the likes Avatar created an immersive experience filled with colour. The thought of putting on these magical glasses was exciting and previous films were reborn with this extra technology. Then we wanted it in our living rooms, to make home cinema even greater and while we’re at it, let’s watch the football with it too.
Obviously, every company caught on and televisions were made with built-in 3D capabilities and glasses sold additionally, as families crowded round the flat screen for a futuristic night in. Nowadays is another story, with those who have the necessary hardware not tending to bother with it, especially just for television and this is why the BBC will be abandoning the idea until 2016 at least. ESPN also decided to ditch the extra dimension last month with 3D sports broadcasts being shut down by the end of the year.
Apparently the audience find the concept “too hassly”, due to the glasses and the arguments over the best seat to capture the quality. Not only that but many have complained about lack of colour and the fact that often television is not the sole activity you’ll be doing and therefore the glasses interfere with other activities such as checking your phone, or talking to others in the room. Although most high end TV sets available on the high street do have 3D capabilities, its likely that if this decrease continues, manufacturers will push 4K more than ever.
Its not just in the home where the hype is starting to fade. Despite many cinemas introducing new passive glasses thought to be more comfortable, films don’t seem to be grasping the use of the technology and there is a lack of objects flying out in your face, despite a hefty ticket price and probable headache. If the third dimension is already dying out in home cinema, it will be interesting to see if recent digital signage applications will hit it off. This year’s ISE event showcased LG’s 3D video wall, which received a huge buzz due to no glasses being needed.
There was a huge reaction when Tupac was displayed via hologram at last year’s Coachella Festival and despite its usage for other entertainment; a London university has used the Pepper’s Ghost illusion to enhance its learning opportunities.
Two junior doctors have developed effects so that a large scale hologram can be displayed in medical lectures, with last week demonstrating a 4 metre kidney. Research in education has shown that more interactive teaching, including 3D, can increase attention span and this 3D graphic can be controlled by the lecturer, so that particular parts can be viewed. The scale of the image means attention to detail required by medical students can be viewed with ease, however both students and professors alike do not feel this will fully replace traditional methods. Dr Sugand reminds us, “Nothing can substitute dissecting a cadaver – it is the optimal and most traditional way of learning anatomy. But multimedia has become a way of complementing, not replacing that process.”
Unlike a standard hologram, the Pepper’s Ghost illusion uses glass or foil combined with special lighting techniques to make objects appear in mid-air. And three projectors are used to create the full colour images but need you’ll need a large auditorium for such big graphics.
The developers are still creating a large library of animations to utilise but it’s unlikely we will see this in action regularly for a while. If you would like more information on education or healthcare systems, please feel free to contact us.
A simple diagram to explain the Pepper’s Ghost illusion
Audio-visual experts and the general public alike were wowed by dance act Freelusion on Britain’s Got Talent over the weekend. The four dancers from Hungary got through to the live semi-finals with their act which combined futuristic dancing and outfits with 3D projection mapping. The act, consisting of Timea, Lajos, Viktor and Laszlo described their talent to the judges as “an interactive 3D dance show”. Using 4 large cubes and a large screen behind them, the quartet’s projections coordinated perfectly with their actions, creating a smooth performance. 3D projection mapping is often used so that irregularly shaped objects can display video projection.
As was shown in our article on ARC, the digital art festival, musicians in the electronica genre are often using visuals to accompany their DJ performances, but Freelusion claim to be the first dance act to combine the two, with their first showcase in 2009. Freelusion also competed on Hungary’s version of the talent show and have been used in marketing and advertising campaigns for electronics companies. Check out the video below if you missed their performance on Saturday. Feel free to contact us if you would like more information on projection mapping.
With the latest Xbox being revealed in the upcoming weeks, Microsoft has been busy with other projects which are likely to follow afterwards. After being seen for the first time at January’s CES show, the Illumiroom is latest in immersive technology thanks to the use of a Kinect and a projector. The Kinect scans your living room and takes measurements, so that the projector can display graphics around the room creating the play space to increase dramatically, which could be particularly useful in first player games. The colours are matched using a technique called “radiometric compensation” and the Kinect and projector can be mounted wherever is convenient in the room. The “illusions” that are projected can differ from special effects around the images on the screen, enlarging the game as a whole, or transforming your room to look totally different, for example, turn it into a cartoon style. Below is a full demonstration of how system looks.
If you’ve had the pleasure of embracing a festival environment, you’ll know that it isn’t just the music that creates such an atmosphere. Bristol’s ARC festival, which took place recently, is one of the only festivals that highlights the importance of audio-visual whilst also celebrating electronic music. Several small domes are used as stages and each one has a 360 degree live projected light show in action. Company RFID and AV experts Luma use specialised software, which can design art on impulse to match the mood or speed of the current music playing. Other AV “artists” can bring along their visuals to be calibrated onto a curved surface, which uses six projectors around the dome and each portion is adjusted with millimetre precision.
The curved concept is bound to receive more mainstream interest in the future, particularly from live music events and RFID have already had a few offers. Below is a fan video of one of the domes in action.
As if the Tobacco Dock in London was not enough in respects of a great venue, the content displayed within its old fashioned frame makes for an enlightening day, in which the power of audio-visual proves it’s stronger than ever. The NEC Showcase’s fifth year of collaborating with other big manufacturers sees a serious upgrade in the retail and education sectors; however the event covers every angle including corporate, transport, media, leisure, healthcare and control. Each room had live demonstrations of new innovations so that you could experience the technology hands on, with visitors from round the world receiving live tours around the vast displays. From the word go you enter the electronic world, with a immersive tunnel that uses rear projection to create an engaging walkway.
Amongst all of this, there was also conferences and seminars as well as a dance troupe who were demonstrating a 4K workflow and were being filmed for playback on a 4K videowall and other 4K technology including a laser projector and using a 5K camera. 4K was seen elsewhere in the venue including NEC’s new 4K laser projector and a UHD 4K videowall. 3D had its own area, which proves this technology will continue to evolve, however it was kept purely for leisurely activities at this event.
The education room concentrated on collaborative learning including DisplayNote software, which we have touched on previously here. Digital signage within the schools and universities were pushed with AMX’s latest control panel proving anyone can keep the system up to date (blog coming soon).
The retail section was probably the most popular, due to so many interactive displays that brought to life many concepts we have been hearing so much about, yet haven’t tried out for ourselves. This included large touch screen menus, virtual changing rooms and audience analytics (blogs to come soon).
Congratulations to NEC on the event and make sure to keep an eye out for more in depth product spotlights coming soon on the Tech Zone.
It may only be a concept for now but this car is bound to catch people in its headlights. Car manufacturers Mercedes-Benz will be showcasing their latest vehicle, the Concept GLA, at the Shanghai auto show over the coming week, which uses projectors as headlights. The front headlamps laser sourced projectors which have the capability of displaying media from formats such as smart phones, a hard drive or from the net.
There are also two cameras in the front roof rail which can capture 3D images, which can then be used externally on another device, so you can bring your journey to life.
Although the first thing we thought of when seeing this was a personal drive in cinema, Mercedes believe this technology could help road safety by projecting symbols for direction or warnings onto the road to give other users a heads-up.
Check out the video to see the car in action.
We’ve all gotten used to the idea of pinching, sliding and prodding our touchscreen devices but we’d never expect to actually pick up a piece of the action. MIT’s Media Lab has created the option with an elasticated touchscreen that lets you experience “2.5D”, a dimension that has not been mentioned in the technology world before. The prototype, which has been named Obake, looks to bring even more touch to the touchscreen — using actuators, depth cameras, a projector, and a silicone screen to make pinch-to-zoom and other gestures a 3D reality.
The silicon display is supposed to mimic the fluidity of water whilst still allowing the gestures to create geometric shapes. Due to the large set up needed to create this dimension, it’s unlikely we will see this on the next smart phone, but it is likely to become a create concept for 3D displays in tourist attractions and educational purposes.
Check out the video below to see the set up behind the magic and see the “screen” in action.
Paragon Multimedia was lucky enough to be one of the 45,000 visitors through the doors of the rammed RAI in Amsterdam, making it the best-attended AV trade show ever held. With 900 exhibitors also beating the world record, ISE 2013 consisted of twelve halls filled with new innovative technologies to catch our eyes.
Mike Blackman, the Managing Director for Integrated Systems Events was thrilled with the result, explaining, “ISE 2013 demonstrated more clearly than ever that the electronic systems integration industry is capable of defying economic headwinds and encouraging its stakeholder companies toward continued growth.”
Similar to its American equivalent CES, ISE became the location of many launches by large manufacturers, including Crystal Displays touchscreen transparent LCD, Lighthouse’s flexible LED and Sony’s lamp-free 3LCD projector – the first of its kind.
One thing that was lacking was any evidence of OLED, which we have reported on previously and is supposedly the future of large display screens. Instead, 3D seemed to be the main interest by the visual enthusiasts, with LG’s beautiful video wall taking centre stage with its almost bezel-free frame.
Wireless audio was another focal point with the leaders being the likes of Peerless Audio, Sehnheisser and NuVo. Although the technology was often showcased to benefit a home cinema environment, it’s apparent that less cabling will be appreciated by all sectors, including corporate and education. We will have more on this coming soon to the Tech Zone, so make sure to keep a lot out if your audio system needs a revamp.
We hope that whoever attended ISE had a great time and we plan to have much more of a presence next year, as it continues to grow and grow. If you would like any more information on any of the products of concepts mentioned, please feel free to drop us an inquiry via our Tech Zone.
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