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Queen's University Professor to Unveil Self-Levitating Displays, Allowing Physical Interactions With Mid-Air Virtual Objects

By Queen's University (Canada)

November 11, 2015

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Queen's University researchers have developed BitDrones, an interactive swarm of flying three-dimensional (3D) pixels they say could revolutionize how people interact with virtual reality.

The system enables users to explore virtual 3D information by interacting with physical self-levitating building blocks.

The researchers say BitDrones are the first step toward creating interactive self-levitating programmable matter using swarms of nano quadcopters.

The researchers created thee types of BitDrones, each representing self-levitating displays of distinct resolutions. PixelDrones are equipped with one light-emitting diode and a small dot-matrix display. ShapeDrones are slightly bigger, and include a lightweight mesh and a 3D-printed geometric frame, and serve as building blocks for complex 3D models. DisplayDrones have a curved, flexible high-resolution touchscreen, a forward-facing video camera, and an Android smartphone board.

All three BitDrones include reflective markers, enabling them to be individually tracked and positioned in real time via motion-capture technology. In addition, the system tracks the user's hand motion and touch, so users can manipulate the voxels in space.

"We call this a real reality interface rather than a virtual reality interface," says Queen's University professor Roel Vertegaal.

From Queen's University (Canada)
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