A global effort to photograph every species of ant on this planet is embarking on an international tour, stopping by museums and scientific collections in the United Kingdom. With thousands of American ant species already accounted for, now Brian Fisher and colleagues at the California Academy of Sciences are taking AntWeb overseas.
Building a next-generation jet engine isn’t easy, but from the cool confines of a blacked out holographic chamber in Brooklyn, it can at least be easier. Here, GE and its partners at BBDO New York have assembled ThrottleUp, an immersive 3-D holographic experience that lets users build one of GE’s new energy efficient GEnx jet engines using a gesture controlled holographic interface.
The Sony PlayStation TV beams a different image to each player's eyes, so no more splitscreen--which means no more "screen-cheating," and no more half-size screens
By Joseph A. BernsteinPosted 02.09.2012 at 1:52 pm 4 Comments
Gamers who prefer their multiplayer limited and local, as opposed to massive and online, will be familiar with the practice of screen cheating. The technique involves sneaking glances at your opponent's section of the bi- or quadrisected television screen to determine his or her location to gain an advantage. If you were good at the seminal split screen multiplayer games--GoldenEye, Mario Kart, the first Halo--you screen cheated. If you were bad, you screen cheated.
The New York Public Library has an archive of over 40,000 historical stereographs, many well over a hundred years old. Stereographs are regular photographs, except in pairs, with the perspective very slightly different. Essentially, stereographs are what you were looking at through your ViewMaster as a kid. And now the NYPL has created a pretty amazing tool they're calling the Stereogranimator that lets users create animated 3-D GIFs from the photos in the archive.
In November 2010, Microsoft released Kinect, a motion-sensing accessory for its Xbox 360 gaming console. Kinect could measure depth by sending out thousands of small infrared dots to create a 3-D map of a room, and its microphones could pinpoint sound in space. Such hardware would not be confined to gesture-based videogames. Within a few days, engineers strapped the $150 device onto a robot vacuum and wired the machines together to allow the robot to see and hear. For developers and hackers, Kinect's promise proved irresistible (and affordable): It could give machines sense.
It's a kind of validation when our past visions of the future and the present collide, reminding us that things we thought were possible back then actually were within reach. Take, for example, Tokyo-based Burton's Aerial 3D technology. The company claims it's the first 3-D tech that casts three-dimensional objects in mid-air without using any kind of screen. It recalls that scene in Star Wars where the crustacean-faced guy is planning the rebel battleplan around his big holographic table.
3-D TV is still experiencing some growing pains, in large part because of its reliance on bulky, uncomfortable and expensive active-shutter glasses. That's now changing. A new wave of 3-D sets are using lighter glasses to make immersing yourself in the third dimension less cumbersome. Eventually, believable 3-D won't require specs at all.
Microsoft's Research department is always coming up with cool new ways to interact with gadgets, and this newly released video of the "Holodesk" is definitely one of the cooler ones. It uses a Kinect ("hacked" doesn't seem really correct when it's a Microsoft project) to see your hands and face, and allows you to juggle completely virtual 3-D objects--balance a virtual ball on a book, then tip it into a bowl of water, or stack virtual 3-D blocks. It's pretty amazing.
It's an entirely different kind of gadget lust felt when you know that the thing you're drooling over is dogged by the horrid words "Europe Only," or "U.S. release details pending." Here at PopSci, we get that a lot, but never is it more palpable than the one time a year we cross the pond for the annual IFA electronics smorgasbord in Berlin.
This year's IFA is just wrapping up, which means it's time to look back on the whirlwind of the last few days: what looked great, what didn't, what got us excited, and which technologies we're most excited about. The big themes this year were convergence, new ideas about 3-D, and thin everything--two of those three are represented in the Samsung Galaxy Note pictured above. Stay 'til the end for a couple show-floor sights that turned more than a couple heads.