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Invisible Holographic Computer

Gloves + Goggles + Webcam = ...Computer?
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This is a computer peripheral that will create a "virtual computer" visible only to the user, replacing a real screen, keyboard, and mouse. This effect will be accomplished via agumented-reality technology.

Hardware-wise, the idea conists of a set of goggles, with LCD screens in each eye. There will be two webcams stuck to the sides of the goggles, and both the cam and the screens will plug into a computer. In addition, there will be a large plastic mat showing square patterns of very large black and white pixels, like 2-D barcodes. Gloves with similar patterns attached on cardboard squares will be used.

The mat will be placed approximately where the keyboard would be on a normal computer. When the computer detects the patterns on the mat through a webcam, it will display a 3-D model above the patterns in the corresponding goggle screen. This model wil be a set of two planes; a horizontal keyboard plane (colored with a texture that looks like a keyboard) and a vertical screen plane (colored with the image that the real computer screen would be showing). Since the two goggle screens will show slightly different views of the model due to the slightly different views of the mat they are receiving, a stereoscopic effect will be created.

The gloves will also be bearing these patterns on their fingertips. These will tell the computer where the hands are in space, allowing it to register if the hands are touching the virtual screen or virtual keyboard. If the hand does tap a key on the virtual keyboard, the texture will change to show that key lit up, and the computer will act as if the corresponding key had been tapped on a real keyboard. If the screen is tapped, the computer will interpret that as if the same area had been tapped on a touchscreen. The screen plane itself will be colored by a texture identical to the image which would be shown on a real screen at that time.

Ideas for use: The hardware and it's corresponding software can be combined with wearable computer technology to create a accessible-anywhere virtual computer, requiring only the computer itself and it's power supply to be carried. A laptop could be much more space-efficient if bulky peripherals like keyboards and monitors did not need to be integrated into the design.

Hive_Mind, Feb 11 2010

Not quite what you mean but still worth checking out. http://www.ted.com/...he_sixth_sense.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Feb 14 2010]


       Yes, sort of. I think (I may be wrong and am too lazy to google) that virtual keyboards have been proposed before, and Glasstron-style glasses for displays are certainly known.   

       Also, how much more compact would a laptop actually be? I'm looking at mine now. The keyboard (including keycaps) is about 8mm thick and covers less than half the area of the base. The lid/screen is about equally thin. Those on new machines like Airbooks are thinner yet.   

       So, yes, you would save quite a bit (maybe 40%?) of the bulk of a laptop, but then again you have to carry around a pair of Glasstron glasses or similar, and the gloves. (Not sure why you need the mat - I think you could do without it).   

       I think that, if all computers were like this anyway, and someone invented one that had a thin keyboard and a screen *actually built in* so that you didn't need the gloves and so that you could show images - mirabile dictu - to other people, I'd be rushing out to buy one.   

       [ ]
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 12 2010

       /the cam and the screens will plug into a computer//   

       This would be much better without plugs.   

       What an odd mix of futuristic thinking and reliance on old technology.
csea, Feb 13 2010

       /But then you have to carry around a pair of Glasstron glasses or similar/   

       It's not as much as a burden than you think. When no current is flowing to the lenses, the polarizer layer of the LCD means that the display doubles as sunglasses when not plugged in. There are also glasses with cameras hidden inconspicuously in the arms, so a combination of these two technologies would mean that you'd have a perfectly servicable pair of sunglasses which just happened to double as augmented reality displays.   

       /What an odd mix of futuristic thinking and reliance on old technology/   

       I'm simply worried that the addition of wireless will induce more latency than simply plugging the peripherals. If this is not true, I'll gladly go wireless.   

       Oh, and the barcode-3D overlay technology already exists. You can buy business cards with these patterns that do this when held up to a webcam running a special app. Although the model-added image only appears on an ordinary computer screen and not special VR glasses, the principle is the same.
Hive_Mind, Feb 14 2010

       I've seen something like this. Give me a minute.   

       Bit more than a minute, got called for supper.

       iHat - gloves not necessary, eyes provide cursor movement and eyebrows provide left/right clicks.   

       do you think Apple will be working on iPad blitz ad campaigns to be run once-a-month ?
FlyingToaster, Feb 14 2010


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