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Displays Input Devices

A Big Step Forward In Air Display and Interface Tech 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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A Big Step Forward In Air Display and Interface Tech

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  • 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?
  • by Megahard ( 1053072 ) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @12:38AM (#45780415)

    Seems like the obvious application.

    • It's nice that yo can reach in, but not that nice since it is lacking moisture :-(
    • 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
  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @12:40AM (#45780421) described in a summary so concise it lacks sense.

  • 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

  • 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 i

    • 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.

      • 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.

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

  • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @01:08AM (#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?

    • Possibly there are a lot of other problems.
    • by eyenot ( 102141 )

      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

      • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @03:05AM (#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.

        • by eyenot ( 102141 )

          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.

          • 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.

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

    • 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 abou

  • "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?

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @01:42AM (#45780625) Homepage

    Projection onto streams of water is well known. Here are some examples. [] 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.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      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.

  • What step forward? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EdZ ( 755139 )
    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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.

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