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accurate 3D shading

better bevelled edges
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Add a few simple directional light meters to computer screens so the computer can accurately render the shading on "bevelled edges" and other 3-D effects to match the ambient light. (Currenetly, the "light" is almost always taken to be coming from the upper left of the screen.)

The light meters could also be used to adjust overall brigtness as appropriate for conditions.

Maybe the cheesy digital cameras that are so cheap these days could be used for this purpose (when they're not actually in use, which is most of the time)? Unfortunately, they have limited field of view. Maybe if it the camera was pointed at a known diffuse object?

(When computing in the dark, the simulated reflective elements would of course turn black. To help you find your way around the desktop, neon light strips and rows of lights, such as indicate airport runways at night, might appear. Spotlights, such as illuminate road signs at night, could be drawn to illuminate controls and dialog boxes. The mouse pointer should also act as a flashlight.)

egnor, Sep 14 2001

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       The point is that the objects on the screen look like they're actually in the room with you, rather than looking like the screen is a photograph of some completely different scene with different lighting. I think it would look more "natural".
egnor, Sep 14 2001
  

       This would be tres cool. You realize we'll have to convice all monitor manufacturers to attach swing-arm lamps to the tops of our monitors though.
phoenix, Sep 14 2001
  

       Phoenix: Indeed. However, there's no need to have a *real* swing-arm lamp; that would just create glare on the screen. Instead, have a *virtual* swing-arm lamp: it's a real physical lamp, but it has no light bulb. Instead, it has encoders on the joints so the computer knows where it is and can simulate the effect the light would have if it did exist.
egnor, Sep 15 2001, last modified Sep 29 2001
  

       egnor - Now your talking about VR (Virtual Reality), whick goes way beyond monitor screens and what they are capable of. What you need is cameras located in meticulous locations to display an image in a 3d(ish) way. Which in itself would be cool, but we're still a ways away from that technology.
shaggysin, Sep 18 2001
  

       Nothing magic about VR. All you have to do is throw enough computer at it.
StarChaser, Sep 29 2001
  

       Looking round my office, great effort appears to have been expended to make the light ambient - and therefore eliminate glare.   

       How about a moving light source on screen? Or a camera that sees where the user's eyes are and moves the highlights and shadows so the screen appears to be coming from that point of view?
sadie, Apr 22 2002
  

       I've thought about UIs where the center of projection is fixed and the view changes depending on where on the screen the object is. You can see a bit of the bottom surface of the stuff at the top of the screen and the top surfaces of stuff at the bottom of the screen. Same deal for left and right. Subtle (and certainly not novel).
bristolz, Apr 22 2002
  

       Shree Nayar at Columbia University created a system like this (sorry, no link). An LCD screen mounted in a picture frame had an image of a still life painting on it. A small, hidden CCD watched the world from the top of the frame. You could shine a flashlight at the painting and the objects in the still life would change their appearance appropriately. Quite lovely.   

       Changing the apparent shading direction is a cute idea. A more practical application might be to watch the light level in the room and adjust the brightness and contrast of the display to compensate. Imagine if half of your monitor was bathed in a sunbeam but the image was consistent anyway...
isohedral, May 15 2002
  

       Just came across this one. Beautiful. Croissant.
st3f, Oct 21 2002
  

       This is why I love the 'bakery. Beautiful, amazing, and utterly useless
DesertFox, Nov 14 2005
  
      
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