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Our pick of Siggraph Asia’s Emerging Technologies

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 | Posted by Jim Thacker

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3ek0_C_prY

ACM Siggraph has released a preview video showcasing some of the amazing things on show in the Emerging Technologies exhibit at the Siggraph Asia 2015 conference next week.

As ever, it’s a mixture of innovation and blue sky thinking: equal parts ‘I want one of those’ and ‘Why would anyone want one of those?’ You can see the official video above. Below, we round up our personal highlights.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUNyGulF00Q

At one end of the scale, several exhibits show technologies you can imagine using yourself in a few years.

Tohoku University’s Sticky Projection Mapping takes existing mapping technology and ups the frame rate to 450fps using a high-speed camera and custom projection hardware.

It’s an evolutionary technology rather than a revolutionary one, but it’s a neat demo.

151026_SiggraphAsiaETech_Elastylus
 

In the same camp is Jiangnan University’s Elastylus: a haptic brush painting system. A touch screen and Leap Motion controller track a user’s hand movements, while a finger-mounted stylus provides force feedback.

Sadly, we can’t find any more information online, and it isn’t clear from the main video how smooth you can get the brush strokes, but it’s an interesting control system.

As ever, the Emerging Tech exhibit features a range of speculative holographic and 3D display systems. Of these, the University of Hong Kong’s Interactive Volumetric Fog Display was the one that caught our attention.

It uses projection mapping onto a volumetric screen created by a matrix of individual switchable fog emitters to display full-colour 3D images without the need for special glasses.

You can even draw three-dimensional forms in mid air, using only your fingertip.

151026_SiggraphAsiaETech_LivingBookAnatomy
 

Intended as a tool for teaching human anatomy, French research body Inria’s Living Book of Anatomy is an augmented reality system that displays a user’s skeleton or muscles on top of their body in real time.

There doesn’t seem to be a separate demo video, but you can find more information on the project’s website.

Making use of human anatomy in a rather different way, Keio University’s SkinWatch uses the skin on a user’s wrist as a control surface for a watch, sensing deformations around the device.

You can control the display by pressing down on either side of your wrist – and even pinch to zoom.

It’s arguably the coolest extension of the human body on show, since sadly, the National Tawian University’s ThirdHand provded not to be an actual robotic extra hand, but a haptic feedback device for mobile games.

In the world of telepresence – technologies that enable the user to feel that they are physically present somewhere other than their true location – there is the University of Tokyo’s Jack-in-Head system.

A wearable ominidirectional camera with built-in motion stabilisation, it promises to let you experience bungee jumps or extreme sports at first hand without motion sickness – albeit possibly with terrifying vertigo.

Also from the University of Tokyo, ChameleonMask proves that rather than watch someone else’s face on a screen, the experience is more convincing if you then persuade someone else to strap that screen to their head.

The demo video (above) is weirdly compelling, but somehow, we can’t see Skype adopting it any time soon.

151026_SiggraphAsiaETech_CalibraTable
 

And finally, in the microelectronic-controlled-sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut category, we have the CalibraTable.

Another University of Tokyo project, CalibraTable is an illuminated tabletop that exploits the fact that the perceived volume of food on a plate depends on the area it occupies relative to the plate itself.

By projecting variable-sized virtual dishes around the food, it encourages users to eat less by suggesting that there is more there than in reality: neat psychology, but surely not the easiest way to diet.

Pick your own favourite
Other technologies on show in Siggraph Asia 2015’s Emerging Tech exhibit range from heads-up displays for cars to VR environments designed to help architects experience their designs at actual scale.

You can find summaries of all the research via the link below: dive in, and find your own favourites.

Read a full list of projects on show in the Siggraph Asia 2015 Emerging Technologies exhibit

Siggraph Asia 2015 will be held at the Kobe Convention Center in Kobe, Japan from 2-5 November.

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