Monday, November 22, 2010 7:07:28 PM
What?! I was like... really? So I conducted a little experiment and covered one of my eyes and walked around for a half-hour interacting with the world. Whoa. Mostly I did fine, I could guesstimate distances pretty well but it was unnerving in those situations where I wasn't quite sure. Pouring liquid from a container to a cup was just a little bit more difficult (and I couldn't pour from a distance, as usual). Dude? Who knew this stereo-vision thing was so important.
And it is...
So Microsoft just recently introduced a new piece camera hardware that is supposed to connect to your XBox but these guys went and hacked it so it could connect to a computer... and now, computers can see in stereo! OMG, grab your mice and robots it's a whole new bot game!
The NYTimes did a great article on this but if you are a nerd you can go straight to watching the youtube video where the initial demonstration is made:
Even more "scary computer apocalypse is almost here"ish, a little cute robot that can 3d map a space and detect a human being's body.
So what's it all mean?
Well for those who aren't nerds, not much. Maybe in a few years instead of Weathermen using bluescreens they'll use bluescreens plus similar devices so Weathermen can interact with their displays in 3D (imagine iPhone pinch-zoom but just in the air or making it rain in front and "on them" instead of just behind them). However, cheap 3D vision for robots (all this stuff has been previously possible, it's just been way expensive) means lots of cool things. Everything from allowing spelunkers to map caves in 3D, to historians using the technology to create cheap 3D renderings of sculptures and buildings. Allowing design students, whether it's architecture or painting to sketch virtually in the air and then rotate that sketch on a screen. Tying multiple devices together to create a virtual 3D environment that others can interact with -- imagine watching a sporting event where you could choose the angle -- not just the NFL but your kids little league. Filming your own 3D movie.
Again, all this stuff previously possible but expensive, expensive, expensive...
On the flip-side, yes, people can probably do bad things with it. Like create 3D representations of people and insert them into games. Or robots that go bump in the night or whatever horrible application you can dream up.
But for right now, let the fun begin!