5 posts • joined Tuesday 20th March 2012 00:36 GMT
Maintenance costs slain by electric motors?
The reason we don't all have a personal helicopter in our back yard are:
1 ~ They are difficult to fly. But this may be taken care of by advanced autopilots.
2 ~ VTOL needs a much more powerful engine than taking off an landing from a runway. Hence almost all helicopters use turbines, which are very costly due to the maintenance required. Also the mechanical transmissions used to transfer all that power from the turbine(s) to the rotors are very maintenance heavy. Terrafugia is proposing that they can get around these problems using electric motors... but if it was that easy then surely the military would already have gone down this route?
Forget about the graphics
I got a completely different impression of what this research was about when viewing the BBC video clip versus reading this Reg article.
Everyone seems to have latched on to using this technology to make a text message spoken, which is pretty pointless.
The first commentator was bang on the money. The interesting thing about this piece of research is that it is taking written text, and then using a form of markup, it producing a face that reads that text with realistic facial expressions and voice tonality. Sure, plenty of characters in video games do this already (while having more realistically rendered faces), but with those characters the facial movements and voice where recorded from an actor in a motion capture studio. In this case the facial movements and voice tonality are being procedurally generated. Do this realistically enough and you won't have to get an actor to pre-record everything you want a character to potentially say.
So this research is basically looking to improve the 'speech output' side of computer interactions/games. Good luck on solving the speech input side though. We'll probably be using dialogue wheels for input for a while yet.
Weight and thinness
You can hold a tablet in one hand to read it because it is thin enough and light enough.
The current windows 8 laptops with rotating or sliding screens are too heavy and thick to do this. Only when they are thin enough and light enough to hold and read with a single hand will there be much point to touchscreen folding laptops.
Reverse Augmented Reality?
Here is Theregister's original article about the Sony VR Goggles at http://www.reghardware.com/2011/10/21/sony_3d_goggles_get_priced_up_for_uk/ (sorry I can't put in a link till I have 100 posts).
In this article the author stated that a big problem with the goggles was that he could no longer see the gamepad, which he needed to look down at occasionally to find some of the buttons.
Sony might be able to get around this problem using augmented reality. But rather than overlaying a virtual object over real world video, they would overlay a video image of the gamepad into the virtual world seen by the goggle wearer. They would have to do the same for the wearers hands. Or if they could create a virtual image of the gamepad in the virtual world that the wearer could look down to see. Of course this would probably require pretty accurate and lag free tracking of both the gamepad and users hands... which doesn't seem possible at present.
This is progress, but its still not quite a fun game...
Back in the early 90s a VR LCD (I think) headset controled by a hand controller cost in excess of $100,000. And the 3D graphics were rubbish and weren't even steroscopic.
This guy has knocked up his own system for around a couple of grand. Which is huge progress.
There are still two major hurdles that need to be overcome:
1. The walking is bloody ridiculous. This problem was solved by the gaming rig built on the BBC's gadget show, but that multidirectional Swedish treadmill cost tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds. So until someone makes one of those for around 800 pounds you can forget about VR home gaming.
2. Neither Wii MotionPlus, Sony Move, or MS Kinect can achieve proper lag free 1 to 1 tracking on the players hand in order to properly control the sword. Until this happens all the player is doing is effectively pressing an attack button by waving their arm. It is anyones guess how long it is before we see someone achieve proper lag free one to one tracking. But given that there is now a lot of competition and innovation in this space, I'd bet on years rather than decades.
If you get those two things sorted, and improve the body tracking and speech recognition a bit then you could have a pretty fun VR game (although improving the body tracking and speech recognition may prove much more difficult than either 1 ro 2).
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