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A Big Step Forward In Air Display and Interface Tech

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the wave-your-hands-in-the-air-like-you-just-don't-care dept.

Displays 65

wjcofkc writes "Interactive displays projected into the air in the spirit of Iron Man have been heralded as the next step in visual technology. Yet many obstacles remain. According to Russian designer Max Kamanin, creator of Displair, many the problems have now been largely cracked. With this attempt at refining the technology, the image is created inside a layer of dry fog which is composed of ultra-fine water droplets so small they lack moisture. Three-dimensional projections are then created using infrared sensors. The projected screen currently responds intuitively to 1,500 hand movements, many of which are similar to those used on mobile devices, such as pinch and zoom. The most immediate applications include advertising and medicine, with the latter offering a more hygienic alternative to touchscreens. The most immediate objection from home and office computer users is that they don't want to be waving their hands around all day, and while such questions as 'What happens when I turn on a fan?' are not answered here, just imagine a future with a projected keyboard and trackpad that use puff-air haptic feedback with the option of reaching right into the screen whenever it applies to the application at hand — and applications that take advantage of such a technology would no doubt come along. Better yet, imagine for yourself in the comments. As always, pictures speak a thousand words, so don't neglect the articles gallery."

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many the problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780403)

...many the problems have now been largely cracked...

I think you accidentally a word there.

Re: many the problems (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780425)

"the image is created inside a layer of dry fog which is composed of ultra-fine water droplets so small they lack moisture. "

Really ... WTF. Water that lacks moisture. That's like sound that lacks vibrations.

Re: many the problems (1)

Garridan (597129) | about a year ago | (#45780727)

Apparently, if you pour water into a glass made of transparent aluminum, it dries it. It's still water, just not moist.

Re: many the problems (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#45780821)

Watch out, it could be Chubby Rain.

Re: many the problems (2)

Charcharodon (611187) | about a year ago | (#45780869)

Dehydrated H20. Much easier to carry around since it doesn't have all that moisture to weigh it down.

Re: many the problems (1)

tleaf100 (2020038) | about a year ago | (#45781223)

super heated steam is also considerede "dry" !!! visual display and high speed rice cooker in one. should sell well in asia/china. i feel a kickstarter projects could be on its way !!!

Re: many the problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45782475)

or projections from sensors.

Re: many the problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45782693)

Haven't you ever played Space Quest?

Re:many the problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780489)

Also, why do I need to visit an "articles gallery" (obviously, a gallery of articles) when I just want to read the main article that the story is about? Where is this other gallery located, anyway?

Possessives: they ain't rocket science

Re:many the problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780671)

Also, why do I need to visit an "articles gallery" (obviously, a gallery of articles) when I just want to read the main article that the story is about? Where is this other gallery located, anyway?

Possessives: they ain't rocket science

I think the summary meant: article's gallery, with an apostrophe indicating possession, instead of the plural that implies the somewhat meaningless gallery of articles.

Re:many the problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45781547)

Wow, that has to be some kind of record "Whoosh"!

Did you not even read the post you're replying to? The second line, in particular?

Re:many the problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45783625)

Wow, that has to be some kind of record "Whoosh"!

Did you not even read the post you're replying to? The second line, in particular?

Well, that's interesting. The second line wasn't there at the time I read and made the original reply. It was a rare page load glitch I've seen before that no-one will believe happened.

Sometimes, it's good to be an AC.

Don't doubt the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780405)

Today's problems are tomorrows answers.

Re:Don't doubt the future (1)

unitron (5733) | about a year ago | (#45790199)

Today's problems are tomorrows answers.

Unfortunately today's answers are far too often tomorrow's problems.

No moisture, or no perceptible moisture? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#45780409)

This might be a question that is good to ask before petri dishes are deployed to hospitals... That and is there a performance difference between humid Houston, and dry as dust Phoenix?

Re:No moisture, or no perceptible moisture? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780573)

Hell, I have a humidifier going and after it gets cranking, even that might be enough. But nobody gives a shit about Phoenix or Houston because they are both flyover hick cities chock full of angry pre civil-rights era-bred retirees.

Though the products will likely work in Texas because all the hot air inside Texans' heads could help generate more moisture for these things.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:No moisture, or no perceptible moisture? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#45780623)

You might want to check where Houston is before you talk about Phoenix and Houston being remotely similar, other than hot.

Re:No moisture, or no perceptible moisture? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780719)

Phoenix is a hot and dry uninhabitable concrete shithole in the middle of nowhere. Houston is a hot and wet uninhabitable concrete shithole in the middle of another nowhere.

In summa, I rest my case.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:No moisture, or no perceptible moisture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45783903)

Houston is a hot and wet uninhabitable concrete shithole in the middle of another nowhere.

Houston is on the gulf of Mexico. It's a major port. So while it is a shit hole, it's not in the middle of nowhere like Phoenix.

Re:No moisture, or no perceptible moisture? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#45780609)

If they can project an image into it, it's perceptible.

Porn (2)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year ago | (#45780415)

Seems like the obvious application.

Re:Porn (1)

q.kontinuum (676242) | about a year ago | (#45781111)

It's nice that yo can reach in, but not that nice since it is lacking moisture :-(

Re:Porn (1)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about a year ago | (#45781115)

Sticking your fingers (or other objects) into the stream of water droplets means it cannot move to "catch" the rest of the display (see the article gallery), much like standing between a projector and the screen. So every time you go to "touch" anything part of it disappears, doesn't sound ideal for porn. :P

Water droplets so small they lack moisture... (5, Funny)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about a year ago | (#45780421)

...as described in a summary so concise it lacks sense.

Re:Water droplets so small they lack moisture... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780611)

But at least we now know that the screens might be suffering from chronic fan death.

Sure, I'll pass... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#45780441)

The porn industry will be at the forefront of this technology.

Having said that, really, it will be Google and the *rest* of the targeted advertising industry whores that will be pushing this technology, it will *not* be for the "benefit of mankind", it will be a "delivery system" for paid content.

And, it will be yet another way to exit reality and live in an imaginary world - in your mom's basement

Re:Sure, I'll pass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780793)

So, one more step toward Star Trek holosuites, then? TV was explicitly obsolete, and holosuites were demonstrated to be used for porn. It was heavily implied that average moron Fed citizens spent most of their time in imaginary worlds. Kept them out of the way so those wacky jackbooted Starfleet thugs could warp around pacifying the galaxy with very little oversight.

Re:Sure, I'll pass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45781095)

The article clearly points out medical use. However I would go back to the point of a "fan, or a slight "draft","breeze" messing up the image. I don't see how the pron industry is going to benefit from this? No question it has more industrial abuse feel such as advertising, then any commercial or private use.

  I also thought this article was posted on /. not that long ago.

" Articles gallery" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780459)

What's that? Something on another site? Or something I missed?

Even more consumption-oriented (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year ago | (#45780467)

You think touchscreens are bad for haptic feedback? What happens when you don't even get the impact against the screen as feedback that you've actually pressed something?

I'll answer my own question - this is focused on data consumption, not data production, to an even greater degree than touchscreens are; or for situations where an alternative input method will be used (voice, perhaps? I can't envision a mouse+keyboard being used with this)

There are niches for this, obviously, but I definitely don't think it's going to significantly displace existing display tech. It will more be used where current tech cannot.

Re:Even more consumption-oriented (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#45780631)

I suspect that there are not niches for this. The maximum opacity you can achieve is going to be very low, so while you can vaguely see an image (or see one moderately well with a completely dark background an no ambient light), it's still going to fully suck as a display technology.

Re:Even more consumption-oriented (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year ago | (#45780695)

I've found that almost anything imaginable has a niche, it's just a question of whether the niche is able to afford the technology and development thereof.

You just have to figure out situations where the weaknesses become strengths. For instance, translucent displays would be essential for an automotive or aircraft HUD. Or perhaps have a transparent layer on top of a traditional display, for a two-layer effect.

Woohoo, technology (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about a year ago | (#45780469)

Is it just me, or does it seem pointless to put more technology into an interface than can come from whatever is interfaced with?

In a word: Clumsy (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about a year ago | (#45780521)

It sounds like a clumsy and problem-prone technology to me, and I predict it won't get past the proof-of-concept stage of development.

Re:In a word: Clumsy (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#45781031)

Yeah it probably will go nowhere. But maybe if they can get it working, it could conceivably replace touchscreens at ATMs and booths that users interface with for a short amount of time doing simple stuff like selecting YES or NO.

I predict the mouse and keyboard will never be replaced for any serious work until direct brain implants can point the cursor precisely where the user is thinking.

The thousand words I saw (2)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about a year ago | (#45780525)

If many of the problems have been solved, why do the pictures in the gallery look like burry 2D with dim output in a dark room?

Re:The thousand words I saw (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#45780569)

Possibly there are a lot of other problems.

Re:The thousand words I saw (1)

eyenot (102141) | about a year ago | (#45780583)

It could be the "fuzzy logic" they've used in "solving" the "problems":

the image is created inside a layer of dry fog which is composed of ultra-fine water droplets so small they lack moisture

... let's call a recess and re-convene when that statement makes sense, shall we?

Because I'm pretty sure that "shining lasers -- OR just some plain old light -- onto a cloud of WATER VAPOR" is basically where we've been since 1970. My parents were well-familiar with it enough to laugh about how pointless the technology of doing exactly that was, back in 1986.

Let me digress: my parents laughed at the attempts to "bring back 3D" (in cinema) back in the same time period. They thought it was atrocious that ANOTHER attempt was made in the 90's. They would be furious today that it's a recurring theme. My parents had no patience for social amnesia, and I guess I kind of don't, either.

I kind of hate these stupid stories we keep getting fed to us as "news". "We'll shine lashers at the water cloudsh, kidsh!" Okay, old man! You've been doing that same trick for 40 fucking years! You can quit! Snake oil has actually been regulated against by the government!

We'll get there eventually but shit like this (indulge me in quoting it one ... more ... time, it's such a precious artefact of our modern lack of common sense and how gullible 21st century humanity really has become):

ultra-fine water droplets so small they lack moisture

'nuff said. Put me in the cryo-time-machine, wake me up when we have pills to get rid of TMAO-producing gut flora and when we reinvent the burger not to destroy the ecosphere.

Re:The thousand words I saw (4, Informative)

subreality (157447) | about a year ago | (#45780805)

TFA describes it in a way that makes sense even if it's technically inaccurate:

The water drops are so tiny they don't have any moisture in them; you can test it on paper or your glasses -- your piece of paper will remain dry and your glasses won't steam up.

More accurately: The water drops are so tiny they won't moisten things they contact.

... let's call a recess and re-convene when that statement makes sense, shall we?

You may now resume bashing the gizmo for being inadequate instead of the submitter for being incomprehensible or the editors for being incompetent.

Re:The thousand words I saw (1)

eyenot (102141) | about a year ago | (#45789375)

Won't *noticeably* moisten the things they contact, you mean.

I don't need this abuse from you. Why don't you go work for the snake-oil company if they're so cutting edge that water isn't wet.

Re:The thousand words I saw (1)

subreality (157447) | about a year ago | (#45790147)

I was not being sarcastic. I meant what I said literally: Please continue bashing the gizmo for being inadequate. Despite the hype they have not solved the problems which make these displays useful only as novelties.

Re:The thousand words I saw (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#45780635)

Because they're blurry 3D with dim, translucent output in a dark room, and the camera only captures 2 of the 3 dimensions.

Re:The thousand words I saw (2)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about a year ago | (#45780689)

It doesn't look like blurry 2D photos in the middle of a sauna, which has been the problem. Not that there were hairy fat dudes in the background - there just weren't any hot people. Apologies to the furry crowd - I assume you're into hairy fat dudes, I just felt like appealing to the majority.

Now the 2D reductions look considerably better. Use your imagination just a little, compare with anything out there, and good gracious gobshite mcfuckerwad that's awesome.

I'm excited just so the people whining about how 3D, despite representing all 3 dimensions, isn't holographic to the point that you can re-focus or move your head. At least the tech is moving forward so I can say "you have your holograms - shut the fuck up and let me watch my movie".

Water droplets that lack moisture, um? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#45780605)

"With this attempt at refining the technology, the image is created inside a layer of dry fog which is composed of ultra-fine water droplets so small they lack moisture."

Say WHAT?

Re:Water droplets that lack moisture, um? (1)

eWarz (610883) | about a year ago | (#45780929)

water...that lacks...water...hmmm....

Projection on water (2)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#45780625)

Projection onto streams of water is well known. Here are some examples. [jcdecaux-oneworld.com] It's used to create big-screen effects outdoors, usually for PR purposes. You usually get big, but fuzzy, images, because the water screen isn't flat enough. Huge light levels are required, so it takes expensive projectors. Indoors, I've seen it done in a doorway, and you could walk through the image, getting slightly wet.

Until somebody figures out how to make a curtain of mist/water/some gas or liquid stay very flat, this isn't going to be more than an advertising gimmick.

Re:Projection on water (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#45780737)

It's a party trick, nothing else. You can't do much useful work with it because the display is transparent, meaning the background is whatever distracting crap you have back there.

Look at it this way. We have been able to print on transparent plastic sheets for decades but no-one prefers them to paper because they are only useful when projected against a large white screen.

Re:Projection on water (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780859)

Nonsense, you could set it up against a backdrop and use it like a regular monitor.

It makes sense any place workers have to wear gloves, such as restaurants, hospitals, auto shops, etc.

It would be particularly nice for mechanics as you could put interactive 3D guides and even take the display underneath the car itself.

Re:Projection on water (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45781473)

It would be particularly nice for mechanics as you could put interactive 3D guides and even take the display underneath the car itself.

I'm going to take a fog machine and projector underneath a car? You're loopy. Hmm, I accidentally typed loppy first, perhaps you're that as well. What is needed for that job is reality overlay.

Re:Projection on water (1)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about a year ago | (#45782303)

Nonsense, you could set it up against a backdrop and use it like a regular monitor.

Or you could use a regular monitor which will be cheaper and easier to set up...

It makes sense any place workers have to wear gloves, such as restaurants, hospitals, auto shops, etc.

Not sure what you think gloves have to do with the display tech -- these all sound like excellent uses for ordinary LCD monitors.. If your concern's actually about the touch-sensing side, on the basis that "My iPad's touch sensor doesn't work with gloves on, therefore no touch sensor works with gloves on -- except the method they use with this mist-screen", then you're being silly. Optical touchscreens of various sorts have been used on stationary computers for decades, though they turn out not to be suited (due to thickness/parallax, power consumption, etc.) for mobile computers. And to the extent that the optical qualities of fingers are much like the optical qualities of fingers in gloves (mostly, they're both rather opaque), they work just fine with gloves on.

It would be particularly nice for mechanics as you could put interactive 3D guides and even take the display underneath the car itself.

LOL. Just LOL.

mod *up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780771)

into a sling Unless

A big step indeed -- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780939)

Smoke and mirrors?

Just another rehash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45780997)

This is very similar to projecting onto Haze which most AV techs in the theater industry have already been doing for years.

For the others, Haze is like fog from a smoke machine but its ultra-fine mist and allows light beams to show up more clearly you can use a "good" theater grade projector to project onto the surface the mist creates making an image appear to be floating without a screen but the image is blurry and you cannot see much fine detail, their have been many many attempts to improve this over the years and some have succeeded but not much a 3K+ lumin projector helps but the image still isn't sharp you can also use multiple projection points to create a 3d like object, but a gust of wind or a sudden change in air temperature disturbs the image making it blurry, even sitting to close and breathing near the image makes it fail as a display device.

who wants this? practically nobody. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45781025)

It may have some uses, maybe gaming, but there's a reason people have commonly used a mouse and keyboard for decades - They alloe you to exert little energy so you can use them for prolonged periods of time without getting weary.

Epic fail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45781167)

"The projected screen currently responds intuitively to 1,500 hand movements"

Yes, how 'intuitive' for the user...

How exactly is anybody supposed to remember 1,500 hand movements?

NOTHING will ever replace the keyboard and mouse. Why is this nonsense even being funded? These idiots have no idea about user interface design, but then, neither does ALL of Microsoft's 'User Experience' team. (LOL)

What step forward? (1, Interesting)

EdZ (755139) | about a year ago | (#45781243)

Laminar flow fog displays have been around for literally decades. Every other year, a company will out their 'WOW Revolutionary!' desktop fog display with mid-air 'touch' sensing, then disappear after nobody buys it. I've yet to see anyone actually buy one of the things from the many start-ups that have produced them. This one in particular appears to have nothing to separate it from the string of flops before it.
Additionally, they are not in any way 3D. They aren't volumetric, there's no holography going on, you can;t stack them for interferometric displays, you can't even polarise their output. You could use a high framerate projector and shutter-glasses, but you're still stuck with all the limits of single-viewpoint stereography.
The problems to be solved to bring one of these to market aren't technical. Those were solved years ago. The problem to be solved is finding somebody who actually wants one.

Good for de-Evolution (2)

deysOfBits (2198798) | about a year ago | (#45781469)

Perfect for the unwashed masses Most young people cannot write cursive Cannot spell Most can't add or multiply numbers Can't write a coherent sentence All is left is to learn gorilla/chimpanzee talk On dates all they do is text on their cell phones Pretty soon they should reach the intelligence of monkeys This display will be useful for them UH Uh ,,, eh eh

Not new thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45781479)

Looks very similar to these fellows products: http://www.fogscreen.com/

Not so new technology (1)

wingome (794168) | about a year ago | (#45781607)

This looks exactly like that which was developed down the hall from my office ten years ago. IO2 Technologies. They still have a web site so I think they are still in business. I don't see much different in the technology.

The real one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45782289)

The real tech to display 3d image in mid-air is this:
http://phys.org/news11251.html

The smell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45782315)

I hope it smells a bit weird

Next! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45783317)

Let's face it. It's a shit idea. Ironman didn't wave his arm around a misty screen, that's just not sexy. Next idea please.

Fatigue will be a problem (1)

MahlonS (1670762) | about a year ago | (#45783887)

When I started working for an imaging lab in a midwest medical institution in 1984, we were exploring the utility of a vibrating mirror display, which provided a real 3D image (you could move your head to see behind things). Part of my work involved support software for point, line and plane cursors to segment and refine the image. The cursors were driven by a freespace mouse (we called it a "bat") which you held in one hand. Given poor response times, it was difficult to control the device for more than a few minutes with your hand in the air, especially as you waited for the cursor to catch up with your movement. Modern technology could eliminate the slow response, but keeping a hand motionless in the air for extended periods can be a problem.

SeaQuest DSV (1)

Ayourk (1125735) | about a year ago | (#45788989)

This kind of reminds me of the display screen in the captain's quarters with the head of Professor Martenson on the Martenson Screen. I always knew there was a purpose behind all of that mist.

Also.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45792895)

Fifteen hundred hand gestures? Nice for stenographers and Noh actors, I suppose.

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