A parallel Worlds

Monday July 28 2014 / Science & Technology

Hate teamwork? All that constant talking, discussing and brainstorming can sometimes get in the way of doing real work, in addition to giving you a headache, draining your energy and killing your creativity. Why does collaboration have to be so difficult?

Enter the MisTable. It is a collaborative tabletop display like no other. With personal screens made from a curtain of mist, it allows multiple users to move and  manipulate 2D and 3D images horizontally and vertically.

The whole set-up is designed to facilitate teamwork while at the same time optimising the experience for each individual user.

MisTable is the creation of Bristol Interaction and Graphics of the University of Bristol, UK. The creators felt that while conventional tabletop screens encouraged collaboration, they were too static and could not customise the views for each user around the table.

Conventional tabletop device

This limitation was overcome by providing a personal space between the user and the tabletop in the form of a see-through display, which also allows the user to physically reach through it to interact with the table.

More interestingly, being a reach-through display means users can poke their hands right through the personal screen and interact with 3D content.

Watch the video to see the MisTable in action:

“Users can be aware of each other's actions and can easily switch between interacting with the personal screen to the tabletop surface or the interaction section,” says Professor Sriram Subramanian, the project leader. “This allows users to break in or out of shared tasks and switch between ‘individual’ and ‘group’ work,”

MisTable offers three interactive spaces in one package.

The tabletop becomes a space for shared 2D interaction:

Personal mist screens hold personal 2D tasks:

And the space above the tabletop supports 3D contents/interaction:

Thus all team members get to do their own thing while still having a peripheral awareness of other users and tasks.

The entire system is made up of a Kinect motion-sensing input device, FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) tabletop, Leap Motion Controller, fog machines and projectors.

MisTable addresses some of the biggest buzzkills of the 21st century workplace: The need to stare at a screen all day, being trapped in boring and unproductive meetings, and uninspiring technology that limits human interaction.

And it does all of this by using the oldest trick in the book: Making work more like play.

For more information on MisTable, please visit: http://big.cs.bris.ac.uk/projects/mistable.

Suggested by
Anand Sekhar

Monday July 7 2014 / Science & Technology - Art & Design

Ghosts. They’ve been objects of fascination for centuries. We’ve got so many names for them: spectre, phantom, spook, poltergeist or ghoul.

We’ve also tried many ways to communicate with them: ouija boards, seances, scrying, mirror gazing or using electronic gadgets like infra-red/UV/thermal cameras and electromagnetic field meters.

While not as scary or exciting as the supernatural, there is another invisible presence lurking all around us: our wireless networks.

They invade our homes, offices and coffee shops but are invisible to the naked eye – until now. The Digital Ethereal project uses the same tools as ghosthunters to make wireless networks not just visible but appear almost ghost-like.

Monday June 30 2014 / Science & Technology - Art & Design

We’ve all probably had a eureka moment in our lifetimes. It could be a crazy invention, an original plot for a film, a new religion or a start-up idea.

But soon, we’re brought down to earth by friends, family, colleagues and bosses who can immediately see the flaws and limitations in our brilliant idea.

But what if we were given the resources to make our ideas reality and perhaps change people’s lives?

Welcome to the world of the concept car designer. They get to create the cars of their dreams, show it off to the world and maybe even see them on the roads some day.

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