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Video in midair
September 12, 2003 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Watch video projected in mid-air. IO2 Technology's ground breaking medium format 27-inch heliodisplay, developed by Mr. Chad Dyner, projects full color streaming video into mid-air. Don't know how I stumbled on this but it looks very cool. Imagine a fully interactive image that allows "a hand or finger to select, navigate and manipulate the image or video as a virtual touchscreen".
posted by KevinSkomsvold (21 comments total)

 
Looks like some kind of air convection currents are present around the floating images. Wonder if they have some way of using the slightly different refractive index of slightly different air densities to bounce some kind of laser/led/whatever light around in specific ways?

In other words, I bet that breadbox is shooting up puffs of air at different densities to form the "canvas" that a light paints on.
posted by timbley at 8:03 AM on September 12, 2003


looks pretty cool, I'd like to see one in person
posted by maceo at 8:19 AM on September 12, 2003


First I thought that it was a hoax. No technical details anywhere, but why would one make such an elaborate site for a joke ? After some googling, I found some more details.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 11:45 AM on September 12, 2003


Thanks for the link, swordfishtrombones.

Looks really cool, but it doesn't look like it'd very useful for viewing text. Resolution's bad enough on a TV screen, imagine what it would be on air currents.
posted by me3dia at 11:57 AM on September 12, 2003


according to the docs, the resolution would be 1024x768. also - it's not air currents, it's a cloud.
posted by badstone at 12:05 PM on September 12, 2003


Not a cloud. This thing works off the same principal as another system that was recently in the news. It's using laminar airflow and something akin to theatrical smoke. The 'convection current' you see is the mist that is being blown up from the base of the device through lots of little jets that produce the laminar flow.
posted by Hilfy at 12:46 PM on September 12, 2003


Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're our only hope.
posted by phong3d at 1:09 PM on September 12, 2003


right - they're projecting on particles, not using the mirage efffect.
posted by badstone at 1:10 PM on September 12, 2003


can't imagine the primary use would include text, anyway.
posted by harja at 1:15 PM on September 12, 2003


No, badstone, read it again:
The initial prototype of the Heliodisplay -- which has not yet gone into mass production -- projects a 5-inch diagonal 1,024 x 768 image into the air. (7th para. in this article.)

In other words, it projects the original, which is indeed 1024x768 with a 5"diagonal, to a 27" diagonal size on the laminar. I'm not good with math, but I'm pretty sure that would mean the resolution of the projected image would be more akin to a TV than a monitor -- fine for large type but pretty useless for text-heavy situations. Note that none of the examples on the site feature text of any size.
posted by me3dia at 1:17 PM on September 12, 2003


can't imagine the primary use would include text, anyway.

one word: pr0n. i am picturing the virtual interactions with home movies depicted in "Minority Report," or "AI"...hmmm, maybe Spielberg is an investor?
posted by serafinapekkala at 1:19 PM on September 12, 2003


Well, harja, imagine medical applications. Projecting an MRI or CT scan in 3D is great, totally worth doing. However, there is a great deal of textual information that accompanies an MRI, which would need to be displayed on a separate screen if this thing doesn't handle text well, reducing the practicality of the device.
posted by me3dia at 1:23 PM on September 12, 2003


me3dia - agreed. but as with any new technology, we usually can't have it all with the first versions, and simply need to use it to its best advantage.
posted by harja at 1:28 PM on September 12, 2003


i want one!
posted by harja at 1:38 PM on September 12, 2003


Very true. And despite my criticisms regarding text, I think it's a great product. I look forward to trying it out.
posted by me3dia at 2:01 PM on September 12, 2003


I'm not following you me3dia. How does spreading pixels out cause some to disappear?
posted by badstone at 2:33 PM on September 12, 2003


>I'm not good with math, but I'm pretty sure that would mean the resolution of the projected image would be more akin to a TV than a monitor

Nope. A TV is about 640x480 and a typical computer screen is 800x600 or less often set at 1024x768.

The problem here is that each pixel is on a very, very wavy "screen" so the bottleneck isnt the resolution its how stable the pixels are. Imagine your computer screen bending in the wind. That's pretty much how the videos portray it.

Its nothing more than an advanced version of "fog machine meets projector" but who knows, if they can make it cheap enough it might have some interesting applications.

The real downside is that (and I may be wrong here) these images are not stereoscopic 3D, they're just computer animations that look 3D. I don't think they support a two camera system where you can videoconference in 3D just by standing in front of the cameras. It only seems to be able to project generated 3D computer images not real 3D video.
posted by skallas at 3:13 PM on September 12, 2003


you're not wrong, it's just a projector. you want 3d? get yourself one of these. now there's a technology that's actually pretty interesting.
posted by badstone at 3:34 PM on September 12, 2003


well, you need to wait until the end of october...
posted by badstone at 3:37 PM on September 12, 2003


I'm sure I remember an arcade game that did a similar thing.

If I recall right, the monitor was fixed horizontally and was somehow convex or underneath a convex glass, which from the right angle gave the effect of the sprites or whatever jumping vertically off the screen.

Does this sound right or am I going mad?
posted by skylar at 9:39 AM on September 13, 2003


Time Traveler. Holographic but not 3D.
posted by donth at 4:37 PM on September 13, 2003


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