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Future Proof Ideas since 2005, by Erwin van Lun

Trend observations, analysis and future predictions since 2005

Helium3D is the next 3D step for Natal

A revolutionary interactive 3DTV system is being created by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), England, researchers. The €4.2 million (approx £3.7 million) project aims to develop a television that can recognise where somebody is sitting in a room and what they wish to view and interact with on their television.

Researchers believe it is a step towards truly interactive 3D video games where gamers use their bodies to control the action without the need for a controller. It could be the next step for Microsoft's Project Natal.

The project, called HELIUM3D (high efficiency, laser-based, multi-user, multi-modal 3D display) is also exploring ways of allowing viewers who are watching the same television to each view a different channel at the same time and could even let them choose different viewing positions within the image.

For example, groups of people watching a football match in the same room could each pick the part of the stadium from which they would like to experience the action.

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Layar: World’s first mobile augmented reality browser

SPRXmobile has launched the world’s first augmented reality browser for mobile phones names Layar. Layar adds realtime digital information on top of the real world seen through a mobile device’s camera. It does not need any use of recognition through images or other objects. Instead it locates it’s position through a combination of camera, compass and GPS.

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Google Streetview shows you 3D path

Google has implemented semi-3D “Smart Navigation,” which makes your virtual walking a lot easier. Your cursor is mapped on a rough 3D model of the scene, with a convincing sense of depth. Just click where you want to go, and Street View takes you there, making the transition with an unexpectedly convincing pseudo-3D effect.

It also works for off-road sights, like storefronts or distant scenery. These items are mapped as well, so if you lead your cursor to, say, the front door of your house, Street View will automatically take you to the best possible viewpoint. The above video explains it all pretty well.

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Glasses that track eye movements

German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems have embedded a head-mounted microdisplay into a pair of glasses—allowing the user to access and manipulate data with simple eye movements.

The [CMOS] chip measuring 19.3 by 17 millimeters is fitted on the prototype eyeglasses behind the hinge on the temple. From the temple the image on the microdisplay is projected onto the retina of the user so that it appears to be viewed from a distance of about one meter. The image has to outshine the ambient light to ensure that it can be seen clearly against changing and highly contrasting backgrounds. For this reason the research scientists use OLEDs, organic light-emitting diodes, to produce microdisplays of particularly high luminance.

Wearers could scroll through menus, shift elements and pull up new info by simply focusing on a particular area or moving their eyes in a specific way.

Colt: copy text with hyperlinks

Colt is a great Firefox add-on that allows bloggers to copy and paste text from other sites, including source code of the hyperlinks. CoLT (short for “Copy Link Text”) is great! It speeds up the publishing process of bloggers.

Resonate Robot Predicts Human Behavior

The EU Joint-Action Science and Technology project (JAST) is developing robots that can engage in joint activities with humans or other robots, to complete tasks through teamwork. Their latest demonstration (see video above) shows their progress with a robot that observes and predicts a human working on a project. The robot identifies the components the human is using and the likely result of assembling the components. The robot then assists the human with the work, locating parts as they are needed, and providing them to the human. The idea is to give robot the capacity for "observation and mirroring (resonance)".

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Greenpeace assisting you selecting toilet paper

Greenpeace has introducted an Iphone application that gives users a quick and handy guide to finding the greenest toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and paper napkins sold at the supermarket. Ideally, the best products contain 100 percent recycled content (at least 50 percent of which is from post-consumer materials) and avoid the use of chlorine or chlorine compounds in the whitening process. Products that meet this criteria include Green Forest, Natural Value and Seventh Generation while products from companies like Kleenex, Charmin, Angel Soft, Cottonelle, Brawny, and Scott fall short. The application is free to download.

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New Xbox: Full body and gesture recognition

Microsoft's Project Natal is the first game console without a controller. The system has a 3D camera that maps the exacts position of your hands, your fingers, your feet, your header, your nose, everything in a 3D map. This allows you to control the game with only your body, in great detail, and no controller needed. Furthermore, it recognises voice and faces and supports complex video chat.

Steven Spielberg: . "This is a pivotal moment that will carry with it a wave of change, the ripples of which will reach far beyond video games"

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Sticky robots for cleaning windows

The ability to scale walls and hang off the ceiling with gecko-like ease may be within reach - for robots at least. Metin Sitti and Ozgur Unver of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, say their new robots - a sticky-tracked wall climber and a 16-legged ceiling walker - could tackle many jobs in the home including painting ceilings and clearing cobwebs. They could also play a part in exploration, inspection, repair and even search and rescue.

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Robot eyes signal their intentions

But Bilge Mutlu and colleague's team at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, have robots that "leak" non-verbal information through eye movements when interacting with humans. The eyes of a robot may not provide a window into its soul, but they can help humans guess the machine's intentions.

Humans constantly give off non-verbal cues and interpret the signals of others – but without realising it at a conscious level, says Mutlu. The trembling hands of a public speaker betray their nerves even before a word is uttered, while poker players leak subtle signs such as eye flickers or twitches that can be used to spot bluffers.

But when faced with a robot all our interpretive skills are irrelevant. Robots leak no information, so it is virtually impossible to read their intentions, which makes them hard to get along with.

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