A human has not walked on the moon for almost 45 years, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. So why not take a virtual trip? Designed by Beijing-based virtual reality (VR) tech company Noitom in conjunction with Huawei and TPCast, the Project Alice demo at the Mobile World Congress this year is as close as it’s possible to get to walking on the lunar surface.Found at the back of the GSMA Innovation City, Earthlight: Lunar Mission goes way beyond the Oculus Rift headsets it uses. Project Alice is more about mixed reality than simple VR; it allows multiple players (in this case, a crew of three astronauts), and uses motion capture, physical props tracked in 3D, and a large tracking space up to 23ft x 33ft / 7m x 10m.The external tracking system used is way beyond what you could achieve at home with just a VR headset; this is ultra-accurate multi-player VR. A total of 16 OptiTrack precision-tracking cameras are ranged about 10 ft off the ground around the room. … [Read more...] about Project Alice lets you walk on the moon in a motion-tracked VR headset
Inertial measurement unit
Creating the perfect wearable device to monitor muscle movement, heart rate and other tiny bio-signals without breaking the bank has inspired scientists to look for a simpler and more affordable tool. Now, a team of researchers at UBC's Okanagan campus have developed a practical way to monitor and interpret human motion, in what may be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to wearable technology. What started as research to create an ultra-stretchable sensor transformed into a sophisticated inter-disciplinary project resulting in a smart wearable device that is capable of sensing and understanding complex human motion, explains School of Engineering Professor Homayoun Najjaran. The sensor is made by infusing graphene nano-flakes (GNF) into a rubber-like adhesive pad. Najjaran says they then tested the durability of the tiny sensor by stretching it to see if it can maintain accuracy under strains of up to 350 per cent of its original state. The device went through more than … [Read more...] about Engineers Advance the Capability of Wearable Tech
Companies like Amazon have big ideas for drones that can deliver packages right to your door. But, even putting aside the policy issues, programming drones to fly through cluttered spaces like cities is difficult. Being able to avoid obstacles while traveling at high speeds is computationally complex, especially for small drones that are limited in how much they can carry on-board for real-time processing. Many existing approaches rely on intricate maps that aim to tell drones exactly where they are relative to obstacles, which isn't particularly practical in real-world settings with unpredictable objects. If their estimated location is off by even just a small margin, they can easily crash. With that in mind, a team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed NanoMap, a system that allows drones to consistently fly 20 miles per hour through dense environments like forests and warehouses. One of NanoMap's key insights is a surprisingly … [Read more...] about Programming Drones to Fly in the Face of Uncertainty
In one of the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, "The Big Goodbye," Captain Picard dons a fedora as 1940s sleuth Dixon Hill. Picard found a brief escape from life on the Enterprise by way of the Holodeck, a fully immersive virtual-reality room that allowed crew members to live out any fantasy they could dream up during recreation hours. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below We know we're a long way from developing Star Trek's transporter or warp drive, but what about hyperimmersive holographic rec rooms? High-resolution, 360-degree screens are becoming a reality, though they may feel more Fahrenheit 451 than Star Trek. Scientists have gotten better and better at creating 3D holographic images, even on small mobile devices, but to have a real holodeck, we need total immersion in the artificial world—and we need to be able to interact with it. And while it doesn't provide the sense of touch that the Enterprise's holodeck does, a project called Cave2 has taken the … [Read more...] about Why Don’t We Have Holodecks?
In light of the recent development with the half-baked Apple Maps, Google triumphantly posted pictures of a parking lot full of Subarus and other vehicles it uses to create its Maps software. Nokia Maps is powered by NAVTEQ, which the company bought a few years ago for a $8 billion, and now posted about the hard work behind Nokia's 3D maps that the guys from NAVTEQ are doing. Showing a picture of one of its mapping fleet vehicles, the Finns spat out some amazing stats on the staggering amount of info these cars are able to collect for the NAVTEQ True project, which is tasked with creating a realistic panoramic view of the world around us, like Google's Street View. The project consists of four patented technologies: 360° LIDAR: Rotating lasers capture 1.3 million 3D digital data points every second, which generates a virtual 3D model of the world around the vehicle. Position Sensors: GPS and military grade Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) sensors measure the … [Read more...] about Nokia flaunts its own fleet of 3D mapping cars, two million panoramic images collected daily for City Lens