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Entries in future (6)

Thursday
Apr172014

The Seamless Future of Augmented Reality 

With VENTURI's project Très Cloîtres Numérique, residents and visitors in Grenoble, a city in southeastern France, can soon use a tablet or smartphone to see the city in its past. The city scene is overlaid with historical photographs and 3-D reconstructions of ancient buildings. 

Companies like Volkswagen, Audi and IKEA are working with project partner Metaio to create exciting new tools. For example, Audi customers can take a virtual tour of their new vehicle; Volkswagen allows users to customize a car before ordering; and IKEA and Mitsubishi both allow customers to see how their products would look in their homes or offices, before buying.

But VENTURI researchers want people to experience augmented reality without tablets or smartphones. Their goal is to create a seamless augmented reality environment that leverages smart glasses, watches and earpieces. 

"In VENTURI, we have been exploring cutting edge 'reality sensing' through computer-vision and sensor fusion, and have tied this together with intuitive 'world augmentation' through 3D audio, Smartwatch interaction and HMDs like GoogleGlass," says VENTURI Project Coordinator Paul Chippendale. 

VENTURI is working with Metaio and Sony to create the first generation of ubiquitous AR tools. 

"Thanks to Sony's participation in VENTURI, we have had privileged access to their future vision of wearable devices, ranging from smart life logging bands (wrist-worn devices that log a user's activity) to advanced head mounted displaysm," Chippendale said. "We have been using this insight together with Metaio's strong market knowledge, to create personalised AR content according to a user's social profile, the current environmental and what it is that they're currently doing."

Thursday
Oct272011

Check Out Microsoft's Vision of the Future

Imagine a world in which nearly everything is a computer: your eyeglasses, that passing cab, books, chalkboards. Now, try to envision what your life would be like if all the computerized elements of your life were connected. So your glasses translate foreign languages, and your cab syncs to your smartphone to bring you up to speed on the city you're visiting.

In a new series of videos, Microsoft invites you to "watch how future technology will help people make better use of their time, focus their attention, and strengthen relationships while getting things done at work, home, and on the go."

Though the video is intriguing, the technology seems so distant that it's almost like magic. ("Hover" texting? Come on.) Of course, much of today's advanced technology would seem magical to people in the 1950s.

So maybe this future world isn't too far off. But part of me shudders at the idea of being even more reliant on computers. "Strengthen relationships"? Sure. And just think of how mushy our brains will be then.

Wednesday
Dec292010

IBM Peeks into the Future

IBM released its annual "Next Five in Five" list of five innovations expected over the next five years.

Among the predictions are advances in transistors and battery technology that will allow devices to last 10 times longer.

Today's lithium-ion batteries could be replaced by batteries that use the air we breathe to react with energy-dense metal, eliminating a key inhibitor to longer lasting batteries.

"If successful, the result will be a lightweight, powerful and rechargeable battery capable of powering everything from electric cars to consumer devices.

"Better yet, in some cases, batteries may disappear altogether in smaller devices by reducing the amount of energy per transistor to less than 0.5 volts and relying on a technique known as "energy scavenging," IBM said.

Also on the horizon: 3-D and holographic cameras that fit into cellphones allowing video chat

with 3-D holograms of your friends in real time.

Personalized commutes are another development seen by IBM scientists, who are already at work on using new mathematical models and predictive analytics technologies to deliver the best routes for daily travel.

"Adaptive traffic systems will intuitively learn traveler patterns and behavior to provide more dynamic travel safety and route information to travelers than is available today," IBM said.

Human beings will also increasingly become "walking sensors," providing valuable data to fight global warming, save endangered species or track invasive plants or animals that threaten ecosystems around the world.

"In five years, sensors in your phone, your car, your wallet and even your tweets will collect data that will give scientists a real-time picture of your environment. A whole class of 'citizen scientists' will emerge, using simple sensors that already exist to create massive data sets for research," IBM said.

Finally, IBM said, scientists will find ways to better recycle heat and energy from data centers to do things like heat buildings in the winter and power air conditioning in the summer.

"Up to 50 percent of the energy consumed by a modern data center goes toward air cooling. Most of the heat is then wasted because it is just dumped into the atmosphere. New technologies, such as novel on-chip water-cooling systems developed by IBM, the thermal energy from a cluster of computer processors can be efficiently recycled to provide hot water for an office or houses," IBM said.

Tuesday
Dec072010

WikiLeaks: China is Lightyears Ahead in Tech Innovation

Hidden among several hundred thousand government cables leaked by WikiLeaks last week comes fascinating insight into China's amazing technology research.
In the biometrics field, Chinese researchers are developing technology that can identify an individual by their footsteps:

The Chinese Academy of Science Institute of Intelligent Machines ... has developed a biometrics device that uses a person’s pace to identify them. The device measure weight and two-dimensional sheer forces applied by a person’s foot during walking to create a uniquely identifiable biometrics profile.

The device can be covertly installed in a floor and is able to collect biometrics data on individuals covertly without their knowledge. When questioned about the device’s potential applications, IIM officials stated the device was being used by “secret” customers and was not available on the commercial market.

In other news, a cable reveals that Chinese researchers are chasing the holy grail of energy: fusion power. And in 2009, they made significant progress by successfully maintaining a 10-million degree Celsius plasma nuclear fusion reaction for 400 seconds. (European researchers have maxed their device out at five seconds.)

Finally, another cable indicated that officials in China are aggressively chasing quantum teleportation and cryptography with the hopes of achieving "totally secure communication." (And, probably, the ability to hack it.)

Tuesday
Jul062010

The Kitchen of the Future



Oasis is an interactive and intelligent kitchen work surface. Developed by Ryder Ziola, a graduate student at the University of Washington, along with researchers at Intel Labs Seattle, Oasis recognizes the types of food placed on it and displays recipes and other information about the food.

"If you put a steak on the surface, it will recognize the steak and come up with recipe," Ziola said. "It may also come up with nutritional information."

A 3-D camera tracks the motion of a hand, and discerns when a hand is touching the surface, which can ping a timer and images or video for a recipe. When two ingredients are placed on the surface, Oasis suggests recipes that combine them. Information displayed on the surface can be dismissed by sweeping a hand across the projected images.

A palm-sized "pico-projector" made by Microvision projects images onto the surface. The positioning and recognition of objects is determined by a depth-perceiving camera made by PrimeSense. Currently, the camera recognizes objects only by their color.

Soon, the technology can make any service interactive and intelligent.