pixels             …everywhere.


jogging with pixels

by on Sep.03, 2013, under musings, pixel mapping, research

A little over two years ago, I wrote about Digital light… showing the way. The basic idea was that light could be modulated to provide intelligent, personalized, wayfinding. In my concept, street lighting would be used and I included an animation of how a showing the wayjogger could use it. “Tall-drinks” has come up with a very similar idea — the difference is, in his concept, showing the way --talldrinkseach person would have their own source of digital light. He’s even built a simple prototype –for jogging — using a picoprojector. Even better, he’s provided instructions on how to make one for yourself.

Fundamentally we need to understand that a projector is nothing more than a light source — a light source that can be modulated. It’s one good way of creating digital light, something that has been pointed out many times on this site.

Simply projection mapping, you say? This is so much more than projection mapping; it’s something that will make practical differences in everyone’s lives. For some examples, you might want to look at the posts listed below. Some of the applications will seem mundane and that’s exactly the point. Digital light will be part of our everyday lives.

We need to stop equating projectors with screens — “screens are prison cells for pixels“, as Natan Linder says. Once people realize that, a huge number of opportunities open up.

It’s very encouraging to see more and more people experimenting with this. I wonder when mainstream lighting manufacturers wake up to the real potential of digital light and turn it into practical products. Or, maybe it will take some unknown startup on Kickstarter to finally get the ball rolling.

Check out his video below to see Talldrink’s prototype in action. His website has more details– http://talldrinks.com/?p=329 . You can learn how to make your own on his Instructables page: http://www.instructables.com/id/Ground-Projected-Information-Display-for-night-jo/

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Pixels you can walk on

by on Aug.12, 2013, under architecture, interior design, news, research

pixel_walking(as is sometimes the case, our friends at the DailyDOOH also published this article in a slightly different form)

In a presentation I gave at the last Thought Leadership Summit), I analyzed what the ‘perfect pixel‘ size should be for interactivity with large area, up-close displays. I included the scenario where pixels would be on the floor which raised a few eyebrows. I’ve been writing about ‘pixels everywhere‘ for quite some time, but apparently some people think that floors are somewhere pixels ought NOT to be.

GravitySpace2However, some researchers at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany think floors are perfectly good places for pixels. They’ve demonstrated an interactive floor project called GravitySpace, targeted at gaming and pictured here. (continue reading…)

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New benchmark price for a gigapixel: $85k!

by on Aug.12, 2013, under gigapixels, LCD, news

(a slightly different version of this post also appeared recently in the DailyDOOH)

(update 16 September 2013: Michel Leger checked my math and found a significant error in the size of a Seiki gigapixel. Corrected below.)

Ken Wernpixel_eyeser in the Display Daily newsletter recently reported that Sears will be taking orders for Seiki’s 39″ 4k (3840×2180) TV.

Doing the math, that works out to be under $85k for a billion pixels! That’s MSRP. Quantity one.

Doing a bit more math, the pixel size works out to be about 0.22 mm. That’s just a tiny bit larger than the 0.15mm that I believe is the ideal size for up-close, interactive DOOH displays (see my presentation at the Video Walls Unplugged Thought Leadership Summit in London here). It means that a viewer could be closer than a meter away from the screen and get an ‘iPad retina-like’ viewing experience … at least for pixel resolvability! (continue reading…)

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megapixels are boring. let’s talk gigapixels.

by on May.22, 2013, under gigapixels, musings, technology

TLS Rushby1I’ve written several times before how our industry  –and society at large, for that matter — needs to start planning for when gigapixel displays become commonplace. I’m convinced that’s going to happen much sooner than most people think.

So I was very enthusiastic when Adrian Cotterill, editor-in-chief of the DailyDOOH, asked me if I’d speak about gigapixels at the Thought Leadership Summit: Videowalls Unplugged conference.  The DailyDOOH organized that event last week at the #NECshowcase in London.

The problem was that I was in Canada and the event was in England. “That’s not a problem“, said Adrian. “Make a video and we’ll present that,  instead!”  So, with the help of Arc-Media, a talented local production firm, we did just that. On the left is a picture of ‘virtual me’ on stage (photo credit: Andrew Neale)

Here’s what I had to say. Many thanks to The Daily DOOH for letting me use it here. All the opinions in it are mine alone. Comments and suggestions are most welcome.

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How Far Does a MegaPixel Go?

by on Feb.15, 2013, under musings, technology

(this post originally appeared in The Daily DOOH on February 13 2013)

How far does a megapixel  go? The answer is not very far at all. One of the points I tried to make in my recent post about the MegaPixel Summit at #ISE2013 was that a million pixels is puny.

That raised a few eyebrows. But let’s take a look at some numbers and you’ll understand what I mean.  Displays of many megapixels are easily created today and even a gigapixel (one thousand megapixels) is on the edge of do’able now.  Soon, a gigapixel will become mainstream.

(continue reading…)

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Touched by a Pixel

by on Nov.02, 2011, under novel technology, research

Chris Harrison of Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft researchers have been collaborating on using the human body as an input surface. They call this approach  “OmniTouch”. Chris Harrison’s earlier project called   ‘Skinput’ had similar goals and had a more interesting name but OmniTouch has some interesting advances over Skinput. Read on.

If this looks familiar to you, you may be thinking of Pranav Mistry’s SixthSense project at MIT Medialab a while back. OmniTouch has some interesting advances over SixthSense, though.

Mistry’s SixthSense also projected an image on ones body but used fiducials (colored marks) on the tips of the users fingers. A wearable camera tracked the fiducials and a computer deduced if a finger was touching a projected input point.

Harrison’s Skinput used a picoprojector to display an image on a body surface like a hand or a forearm. Bioacoustic techniques using a specially-designed armband detected taps on the skin and, with a bit of signal processing, could determine where on the skin the tap occurred. Skinput needed an armband which could be covered by clothing so it was a bit less obtrusive than the SixthSense fingertip markers.

OmniTouch enables a wide variety of surfaces to be input devices, not just a body surface. It uses a wearable projector and camera like SixthSense, but doesn’t require SixthSense’s markers on ones fingertips. OmniTouch uses a depth sensing camera, similar to Kinnect, but capable of shorter focus distances which increases flexibility. So, for example, one could use a wall or a pad of paper as an interactive surface. Depth sensing allows touch as well as hovering gestures.

The concept is very interesting. Wearing a projector and a depth sensing camera is clunky, but the concept is interesting…. interactive pixels everywhere in front of you. It’s just a proof of concept… now we need smart companies to make it small, stylish, and usable. Check out the video below from Chris Harrison’s website.

Here are a couple of links if you want more detail: http://chrisharrison.net/projects/skinput/SkinputHarrison.pdf  and  http://chrisharrison.net/projects/omnitouch/omnitouch.pdf

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ArduinoArts’ “Annoying Ikea Lamp” project

by on Sep.20, 2011, under fun, furniture, technology

Last month I blogged about the LuminAR project underway at MIT. Recently on the Hack A Day website I  came across a decidedly low-tech similar project by the folks at Arduino Arts.

Recall that LuminAR combined a pico-projector and camera with control electronics and firmware to achieve a gesture-based digital lamp. Arduino Arts just focused on the controlling a simple desk lamp, but they achieved something that is eerily similar to well-known Pixar animation. Take a look at the YouTube video to see for yourself.

The “annoying” term comes from their website. I think a better word would be “intriguing” because there are so many possibilities.

Now if they could put a pico-projector inside the lamp, and add a camera, well then they would be awfully close to creating something people would recognize as digital light. If LuminAR looked more like this it would be even cooler than it already is.

These guys based their project around the Arduino processor. There are a huge number of people creating projects using the open-source / open-hardware Arduino platform. It’s grown far beyond a cult — it’s a full grown movement. I confess to having a few Arduinos in my lab at home. Google “arduino” and you’ll get many,  many hits.

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