UEI in SIGGRAPH ASIA 2009

December 20, 2009

Hello all,

All may know our ZeptoPad and ARider. They were exhibited in SIGGRAPH ASIA 2009 during these 3 days, 17th – 19th.

We brought a set of real ARider devices so you could try it on actually there.

Thousands of people came to the event and many of them visited our digital stand!

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And we could hear their “WOW” (especially when they see the helmet of ARider) directly. We thank many people for coming and giving opinions to us!

As I said before, we are now developing some systems for touch screen. So with Pioneer’s  single touch screen, CYBER BOARD, the demo of SiteSneaker2007 was also exhibited.

Site Sneaker 2007 is the web browsing system to search and select web pages like when you chose some books at a bookshop.

Today, two years after its originally development, the system was again refined by Makoto’s live coding.

So there PDW cycle realized again like when we were in Macworld 2009.

Presentations were all exciting!

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Mr Takahashi of Robo Garage gave a demonstration of ROPID. The robot’s actions of running and jumping were so smooth and cute! Also, the robo nodded when Mr Takahashi told it to do an action.

Works in Art Gallery space were so crazy and beautiful.

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The above is the string display which Ryo bought at the first sight!

Other booths were also interesting!

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Here some pics of works for Emerging Technology.

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Works at digital stands (including us?) were unique and funny.

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This is the devices to robotize note PC. Thought, there are similar other devices made in Hong Kong, but the devices at the stand was only 10,000 yen! It costed much more several years ago, so Ryo take it and actually ordered it!

We would not see so many booths, things and presentations like Lucas Film which recruited people there.

We haven’t seen such a many innovations at the same time. Usually the SIG is took place in America, but this year Asia one is took place in Yokohama, JAPAN, and the quality was almost the same! It was really wonderful opportunity for us to go there much more easier.

We hope this SIG will be taken place in Japan again.

Many thanks again everyone for coming and seeing us!

A Huge iPhone?

What is this? Is this a huge iPhone???

Of course not. This is a really wide and big desk type (single) touch screen. It is a very future style product, CYBERBOARD,  made by Pioneer. Though it is usually set vertically but we set it horizontally.

Originally such desk-type plasma screen was for sale, and recently Pioneer’s developing one for multi-touch.

This touch-screen is used for the meetings of big companies. When plan sheets of a bicycle, a car or a building, maps or paper are used in meetings, usually people unfold them on desks and will talk about their plan with pointing them directly. Though video chat is not suitable for such use, the screen is.

People are around the screen and directly talk about and point at it. Face to face is necessary for meetings, but also sharing the contents will make the meeting more effective.

When we saw Pioneer showed the demo of that at CEATEC, we couldn’t but drop there as we develop the white board application, ZeptoPad. These devices are necessary for our development. We originally developed multi-touch screen with glass table, DILAD screen, Ir camera and a projector bought at IKEA a year before iPhone was released in Japan.

When we said such thing to the staff of Pioneer, he said he had ZeptoPad! So we found a kindred spirit each other and sought something our cooperation.

The Plasma Came

Such meeting cause good boon for us and we could borrow the fantastic plasma touch screen.

So we tried some things with it.

Firstly, we tried Google Earth. It is orthodox experiment, isn’t it?

(We tried with MacBookPro at first, but the driver seemed not to support correctly, so it does not work.)

The impression of seeing Google Earth on the horizontal screen is different from doing it on the vertical one.

The Keyboard we used was Window’s XP’s software keyboard. But when it is displayed in full-screen, ESC key is lost. So  we directly used PC’s one instead.  Maybe non-wire keyboard attachment is better for its use.

As our experiment, we surfed a certain Flash web sites. Touch screen is really suitable such sites since they are developed for mouse controlling. It is really regrettable that iPhone does not support Flash… X(

A desk type screen is useful to see sites such as to search and select among many pictures.

The site above is created in Flash, and it is the UI to thumbnailes American social news site, Digg.

Though the screen is useful for the people standing bottom side of it, it is not perfectly useful for those who standing at opposite side. Letters can be placed around the screen to be seen easily by every people around it. But ones near the center should be placed in one direction… how should we solve the problem…?

By seeing on the wide screen set horizontally, We felt something fresh even see the same thing as usual.

Board games or simulation games would become more fun on this screen.

We will play continually on this screen to have fun for our research and to reply some feedback to Pioneer in return for their kindness. We are excited that it would expand the possibility of game and web contents even only with Flash.

Announcement

We are exhibiting at SIGGRAPH 2009 ASIA, at Pacifico Yokohama, between 17th-19th December 2009. SIGGRAPH is the world-wide event of computer graphics, and recently is becoming as the place of user interface and new technology.

UEI’s ZeptoPad and ARider will appear at one of  “digital stand” there. Also, you can touch the wide screen above there!

See you at SIGGRAPH:D

Our Crazy? Experiments

September 25, 2009

I really appreciate CrunchGear‘s and other articles introducing our ARider project! They are both famous media in US so I’m really excited by that!!

One of Zeptotools member, shi3z (follow him “shi3z” on twitter!), uses the ARider devices everyday to move anywhere in the centre of Tokyo. Downtown of Tokyo is  not so big geographically, but it has over 10 millions  population in just about 10 miles diameter. Its population rate is less than half of NewYork’s, but the number of population in the cnter of Tokyo is 5 times of NY.

So, to move around the downtown by bicycle is easier than expected. Bicycles take us to all the places of business partners. 

Some people worry about using the device when it rains, that is also our fear. To avoid getting iPhone wet, we usually bring it in our pockets.

Furthermore, using an originally “renovated” connector for iPhone, iPhone and a HMD can be directly connected.

This solves the problem of getting cables entangled 😉

At first, we tried to see the map on the HMD, but seeing it during the ride is dangerous. So, we made just arrows to a goal and time displayed on the HMD. Currently blue arrow points the direction to Roppongi, green one does the direction to Akihabara, and red ponts the north. In addition to that, each length from current location is shown too. Such a simple display is much easier and safer to see during the ride.

However, using GPS long time needs much energy and the battery of iPhone becomes empty faster. We cannot solve tha problem up to now…

Furthermore, white screen of iPhone is difficult to see when it’s dark. But the problem is easy to solve. Just change the setting of the screen into black one at “setting” > “general” > “accessibility” on your iPhone! 

Our another play… no, “experiment” with HMD is as follows. The image captured by the superior digital SLR camera, EOS 5D MarkⅡ, is output on HMD like this.

If someone takes images from your back with the camera and you see it on the HMD, you may feel as if you were a FPS player! The imae on the HMD is truly “real”, isn’t it?

You can do it without your friends too if you have the camera attached to a tripod and bringing it on your back.

 

 Do you think we are crazy?

Maybe, you are right.

However, we believe such craziness is necessary for innovation!

Believeing such thing, we continue to play… explore the possibility of iPhone and HMD!

Further Research of ARider

September 14, 2009

Hello, how you doing?

I mentioned the iPhone “chonmage” bike rider, or ARider on the last post. Today, I will talk about more detail and our impression of the equipment usage.

The HMD used in this experiment is T3-A by Scalar Corporation.  

The test was done between Hongo and Roppongi, Tokyo. To avoid crushes or falling down, we used a retractable HMD and used it while stopping. (Actually the HMD was being shaken so much during the ride so it is difficult to check the map even it is always shown.)

The HMD was light so it was fixed on the helmet with Scotch tape. Actually this equipment can be used not only while riding a bike, but also while walking. A GPS receiver, a compass, a main CPU, and a communication unit, all are included in the iPhone. So just connecting the HMD to iPhone, it is ready to be used.

This time, we had iPhone not on the helmet, but in a pocket, to avoid iPhone falling down.  Seen from a little far, the HMD is not so noticiable. It may be better than using other HMDs.

The screen of iPhone app is not directly displayed so we developed and used an original mapping app to display maps on HMDs. 

Our impression of the equipment usage is not bad. Rather, we felt it is more convenient to use it than to check the iPhone directly because it saves the time is to taking it out from the pocket. Thought the resolution of map on the HMD is not good, it is possible to check rough map and the direction. When the iPhone is equipped on the helmet, the map changes the direction following to the direction of your face. It can sense more slight moving than car navigation systems. 

You may think using a camera through AR is more useful. Regarding that, the camera captures images seen by either right or left eye when a HMD is used. However, if you see with both of your eyes, the image shown by the HMD is doubled on what you see really. So that is not necessary. Rather, if more simple information, such as the direction of your goal, is shown, that is enough. 

It seems to be longer to developed the “Cyberspace glasses” which themselves can receive your location and indicate the direction. However, the “Cyberspace helmet” or the “Cyberspace hat,” devices like above, would be appear before so long. 

Considering the safety, it should not be used during the ride. But as a navigation system for walkers or  bike riders these devices would be paid attention. Also, if a camera through AR is used and equip it on a backpack, the device can work as a rearview mirror.

As car navigation systems become more popular than before, the systems for other transferring, especially bike rider or walker should be, or would be developed and more popular in the future. We are also interested in it so much.

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Hi there, how are you?

When I walked on the street of Tokyo the other day, from a bit far I saw a bike rider who seemed to have something “creative” chonmage on his top.  

iPhone-mage

At first, I was wondering who he was. “He has chonmage like something, so is he a Sumo wrestler? or a 21th century style Samurai??” As I approached to him, I found that it was not chonmage, but an iPhone!! And I found the rider was my friend, Sho. What surprised me more was that he wore a scouter (an item used in Dragon Ball) like equipment too.

As I asked him what he was doing with such technological equipments, he answered it was a test ride with an experimental mapping application by Mr Kondo.

What he wore was a retractable HMD connected with the screen of iPhone. iPhone 3GS  has a compass and is good GPS receiver too. So the map rotates  as he changes its direction. The rider with the equipment can check the map of current location displayed on the HMD. (However, be careful! Sho said it was dangerous to see the map when pedalling a bike!! So it was used when he stopped his bike at the traffic light or other places. )

This is a video clip of how equipments work and how Show ride a bike with it….

Also with this equipment and TwitBird Pro, you can receive real-time Mention of Twitter.  When it is used with A2DP of Bluetooth, speaking on the phone hands-free during the ride.

As we mentioned the future style of mobiles before, these “21th century Samurai style” could be popular? There is certainly room for improvement, and thought the map can show the direction of your way, it cannot indicate the future unfortunately. 

However, I believe it predicts something for future and think that in the future, some devices like this and possibly more useful, comfortable and, of course, safer! for bike ride would be available.

See you on the next map 😀

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