3D Earth with Head Tracking

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Here’s a demo that illustrates my ideas on computer human interaction. Instead of controlling the movement of a 3D globe through the mouse and keyboard, why not move your head to look around the globe. You’ll need a webcam for this demo to work.


Side to side motion works pretty well. Up and down is a little iffy.

Moving around to see what’s on the other side is a much more natural and intuitive human behavior than say pressing some computer keys to change perspective of an object. I believe that as computers become more powerful and more and more people have to interact with them in their daily lives, computer scientists will have to design systems and software that provide a more natural user interface (nui) than what we currently have.

Although many people today deal with computers and the internet, this highly technical tool is still completely inaccessible to a large population because it is so difficult to use. By creating interfaces that are more natural to use, we make technology more approachable to the masses. That’s my 2 cents. Feel free to chime in.

Popularity: 3% [?]

AutoDesk Project Dragonfly Lead Developer Interviewed

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My friend Shelly Mujtaba, lead developer of Project Dragonfly, was interviewed over the web. Dragofly is a free online 2D/3D home layout design Rich Internet Application created by AutoDesk. Check out the video series here: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=D2617D775224DEBF

Read a review of it I posted earlier this year here.

Popularity: 3% [?]

Concept Virtual Corkboard With Handwriting Recognition for Large Interactive Walls

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I’ve been playing with the idea of an inexpensive large collaborative wall. Part of the requirements for my large interactive touch screen is that it has to be multitouch and provide a more natural way of interfacing with it other than mouse and keyboard. Johnny Lee has shown that you can build one pretty cheaply. You can set one up using just a couple Wii remotes, a projection screen, and a homemade IR pen. You can then create a virtual whiteboard application pretty easily.

The problem with virtual whiteboards is that all the drawings and text are just graphics. They don’t mean anything to the system. The text isn’t really text. It would be better if you could write the letters and have them be interpreted as real text.

Using an open source Flash based mouse gesture library, I put together a concept virtual corkboard that lets you write letters with your mouse (or IR pen) and put that text on virtual PostIt notes that you can place anywhere on the board.

Check out the video:

Of course, this isn’t the only way to tackle this problem. One could just do OCR on the drawings and figure out the text that way like the mobile app EverNote, but this is just one solution.

Open demo in lightbox

Open demo in new browser

Popularity: 15% [?]

Twitter + Augmented Reality

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What happens when you put together Flash, Augmented Reality, Papervision3D, the Twitter API, and a bored geek? You get this little webcam demo of a Flash app that tracks a marker and displays a speech bubble with your latest tweet.

Although Augmented Reality (AR) has been around for a while now, cheap webcams, 3D on the web, and other factors have only recently enabled the field of AR to be usable by the masses.

Thanks to John Lindquist’s tutorials, I was able to quickly put together a small demo of what you can do with AR and the Twitter API.

The commercial use of AR is still in it’s infancy and people are still trying to figure out how to use it. There have been some examples in the entertainment space, namely the PS3 game Eye of Judgement and the Topps Baseball trading cards.

Here’s a cool AR idea for a conference. Your registration badge can come with a marker that can be read by a big interactive wall installation with cameras. You can then walk up to it and it would show you your sessions. Not only that, but other people who walk up to it can also see their sessions and maybe, if the person standing next to you has the same sessions as you, it would let you know that so you can connect.

Here’s another cool AR idea for the web. Webcam Poker. Each player would have a marker on their desk. The webcam can then pick up the marker and project a virtual hand on your desk, so that your opponent would see your desk as if you had cards on them and you would be able to play virtual poker in a slightly more realist fashion than just clicking cards on screen.

Popularity: 4% [?]

Pek @ Adobe Max – General Session

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So I’m here in San Francisco where my peoples built the railroads and dug the mines. Fortunately though I had to do neither of that. I’m here on Roundarch dime for Adobe Max, a yearly 3 day conference where people who use Adobe products in their daily work lives come to meet other Adobe whores (and I mean that in the nicest way since I’m one too), learn about new products, and generally have a good time.

In this post, I’ll cover the kick-off general session. Adobe AIR was prominently featured. AIR is Adobe’s desktop runtime which basically allows you to do web application development for desktop applications.

  • The International Herald Tribune showed off it’s AIR application which lets you read their articles offline. There was a Silverlight version of this years ago which did pretty much the same thing.
  • (Red) Wire is a desktop music subscription service built on AIR that will donate the proceeds to the Red non profit that was founded by Bono to help bring medicine to AIDS sufferers in Africa. Seems like they used Papervision for the UI.
  • Maria Shriver, first lady of California came and they did a presentation about California Legacy Trails, a program meant to educate about women’s history in California. Adobe will be launching an AIR app for this organization. Look for it at californiamuseum.org sometime late this year.
  • Tour De Flex, an AIR app that basically showcases various Flex components along with sample source code, can be found at http://flex.org/tour. Dave Meeker let me in on this earlier last week. It’s pretty slick – a must for every Flex developer.

Adobe is making great inroads in the mobile market. They’re meeting their goal of shipping over 1 BILLION phones with some version of Flash. Flash Player 10 is coming to many of the new handsets. They’re also working on a seamless Flash app packaging and deploy for mobile phones to make the experience even more unintrusive.

Check out some Flickr photos from the keynote (these aren’t mine) – I was just too darn lazy seeing as how EVERYONE had their cameras out. Oh and I got those really cool Adobe product stickers that you put on your laptop to help other nerds identify you. Hit me up if you want some cuz I got extra.

Popularity: 2% [?]

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