3D Images You Can Touch!

A new technology has been unveiled by Japanese firm, NTT Comware, which will allow a user to “feel” 3D images projecting from a computer screen.

Without any need for awkward 3D glasses, users could feel a far-away object as if it were right in front of them, NTT said. “You would be able to take the hand, or gently pat the head, of your beloved grandchild who lives far away from you,” said engineer Shiro Ozawa. If a person linked to the system moves, his or her three-dimensional image also moves in realtime . The user would feel as if they were being pulled along if the image moves while grasping your hand.

How it works?
The technology depends on real-time rendering and transfer of photos, such as those of your hand when simulating a handshake. Using two cameras, the device films the hand from multiple angles. The glove worn by the user grabs the precise size and position, for optimum accuracy. This data is used to render a 3D image of the hand on the display screen. The screen used is NTT’s 3D Display – developed in 2005 – which allows users to view three-dimensional images without wearing special 3D glasses.

Once the image is displayed, it sends the data back across to the glove, which processes it to provide a feeling of actual touch. So, when the user grasps the hand, the sensors on the glove pick up that data and transfer it to the image displayed, which reacts accordingly. All this, done in real time, gives a feeling of real tactile movement.

The future
Normally, a lot of museum artifacts, such as dinosaur fossils or rare paintings, are stored at a great distance. But with this new technology, the dead could also be “resurrected” by the system and museum visitors could “touch” precious exhibits sealed in showcases, the firm said.

Another target for the technology is virtual classrooms, where students could feel and touch objects which are placed at a great distance, offering a new depth to the learning experience.

The future according to 3DWalkthroughs.com:
A user will be fully immersed in a 3D Walkthrough or 3D Floor Plan and have the ability to grab a beer from the refrigerator, pop a DVD into the home theater system and meld into the couch. OK,we might have to wait a while for this one:)

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