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O Wobbly Ball Of Science
May 10, 2012 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Levitated Interaction Element Move, record and playback a ball along a path in a three-dimensional space.
posted by urbanwhaleshark (18 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The big question is how long until this technology is cheap enough to incorporate into a pinball table?
posted by aubilenon at 5:09 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


This allows a unique, tangible record of a user's physical presence and motion which will continue to exist even after the death of the person.

A bit creepy, sure, but still pretty neat.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:29 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


This allows a unique, tangible record of a user's physical presence and motion which will continue to exist even after the death of the person.

That strikes me as rather meaningless. Everything I come in contact with will potentially go on existing after I die. Heck, the greasy smudge my forehead makes when I walk into a sliding door will "allow a unique record of my physical presence."

I mean, it's a cool technical demo and potentially a pretty objet d'art, if that's how they intend it. You could put it into a museum of natural science and visitors would love it. Reminds me of the ferrofluid sculpture FPP.
posted by Nomyte at 5:39 PM on May 10, 2012


I like the "wobbly" tag -- that was rather my feeling after watching the video. It's cool, but they haven't completely nailed stability yet. Maybe their PID parameters need a little tuning to reduce the overshoot oscillation.

The "even after death" bit does come across as rather unnecessarily artistic-statementy; it had me at "levitating ball does cool stuff". (I liked the ball-as-camera interaction design example, too.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:54 PM on May 10, 2012


I guess you could use this to make a ball... that moves around above a disk...
Or...
...you could take a look at this and then make it real.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:05 PM on May 10, 2012


This would be a good UI for mixing surround sound.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:05 PM on May 10, 2012


(And actually the paper is quite interesting and speaks specifically to the limitations of their prototype implementation.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:05 PM on May 10, 2012


Harlequin, the video you link to is not real. The charming but virtual work was created at the National Animation and Design Centre in Montréal, Canada.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhlpyP-2ooE
posted by Hypnerotomachia at 6:31 PM on May 10, 2012


Patent 3919691, filed in 1971, Michael Noll:
Tactile man-machine communication system
Operation of a computer system is enhanced by means of a three-dimensional tactile control unit interactively coupled by a software package to the computer. By means of a sticklike mechanism, which is mechanically controlled by a servomotor system and energized by computer-generated signals proportional to a stored definition of a three-dimensional object, the hand of an operator is restrained to move over the surface of the object. Hence, surfaces of a three-dimensional object, otherwise virtually impossible to display, may be "felt" by the operator.


It was a golf ball on a vertical stick that moved inside a 1-foot cube. Same trick without the floaty magnets. Seems not to have caught on.
posted by hexatron at 7:02 PM on May 10, 2012


The charming but virtual work was created at the National Animation and Design Centre in Montréal, Canada.

Well in that case, this epic work clearly remains unfulfilled, and if no-one else is great enough to undertake it, I guess it may fall to me to pick up the mantle and make it happen!

Also, the time and effort it took to create that hoax is not too far off the effort needed to actually somewhat advance the state of the art of actual control systems. I guess they signed up for a media course rather than having a choice between doing something real and doing something fake, but still, bad choice!
posted by -harlequin- at 7:18 PM on May 10, 2012


This reminds me of the bit early on in John C. Wright's The Golden Age series. A throwaway little detail, really, but such a great premise. The planetary AI (AIs?) rings Earth with powerful magnets in orbit as well as underground, creating this magnetic matrix throughout the atmosphere. People then don magnetic suits or clothing and zoom! They can fly! I think control is connected to a person's implants, so that all you'd need to do go fly over there is to think to fly over there.

Only a mater of time, really.
posted by zardoz at 7:30 PM on May 10, 2012


I guess they signed up for a media course rather than having a choice between doing something real and doing something fake, but still, bad choice!

Wait, I don't get it. You rue the fact that someone made a "fake," but really cool animation rather than a "real" nitrogen-powered slot car track? Both of these things are pretty cool, but neither of them is going to bring about world peace or anything.
posted by Nomyte at 7:34 PM on May 10, 2012


Very cool. Thanks for sharing.
posted by 4ster at 8:12 PM on May 10, 2012


Both of these things are pretty cool

But one of these things is a lot cooler than the other. To me, an imaginary apple is not as good as an actual apple. An imaginary technological stepping-stone likewise.

but neither of them is going to bring about world peace or anything.

Come on, that's not an even remotely useful way to make decisions in life.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:40 PM on May 10, 2012


This allows a unique, tangible record of a user's physical presence and motion which will continue to exist even after the death of the person.

Dude, chill out.
posted by phrontist at 9:44 PM on May 10, 2012


Wow.
posted by huckleberryhart at 11:29 PM on May 10, 2012


but neither of them is going to bring about world peace or anything.

Come on, that's not an even remotely useful way to make decisions in life.


No. Apparently not as useful as what you, -harlequin-, happen to think is the coolest thing.

I think the point being made was that you came off as taking the whole thing a tad too seriously. I am sure that you do in fact have a sense of proportion about it, as do we all.

Anyway, this "levitated interaction element" is the sort of technology PoC we need right now, I think. The "pictures under glass" model of human-machine interactions can only go so far. Ever more sophisticated uses require ever more sophisticated interfaces. I hope to see a real successor to the GUI before I'm too old not to see it as the work of the devil.
posted by howfar at 7:47 AM on May 11, 2012


In the future, we'll create things by imagining them, then uploading our brains to a computer, which will simulate us using a GUI at ultra-high speed, then deleting the copy of our brain, leaving us with just the data file the copy created.
posted by delmoi at 9:58 PM on May 11, 2012


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