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Researchers develop touchable 3D interface

24 October 2011
Researchers develop touchable 3D interface

The film Minority Report is among the most prescient of recent science fiction movies. Not only did it predict personalised 3D advertising, but another of its concepts, that of interactive touchscreens, has taken a step toward reality thanks to researchers at Tokyo’s Keio University. Reports suggest that a research team there has developed a display that allows users to ‘touch’ virtual 3D characters. Called RePro3D, the technology works by combining a naked-eye, full-parallax 3D display with a tactile interface that lets users manipulate virtual objects in a 3D environment with their fingers. The researchers describe the approach as one based on a retro-reflective projection technology in which several images from a projector array are displayed on a retro-reflective screen. When viewers look at the screen through a half mirror, they see a 3D image superimposed on the real scene without glasses.  RePro3D has a sensor function to recognize user input, so it can support some interactive features, such as manipulation of 3D objects. To display smooth motion parallax, the system uses a high-density array of projection lenses in a matrix on a high-luminance LCD.  The array is integrated with an LCD, a half mirror, and a retro-reflector as a screen. An infrared camera senses user input.

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