Light reflecting off nanotechnology chips generates images in large-field display devices, yet this magic remains all but invisible to its end users. This project subtly, yet memorably, reveals the nature and capabilities of this new generation of micro-machined optical devices.
Conventional wisdom assumes that such fleeting images should not be perceptible, but this project shows that rapid eye motion enables image revelation in a subtle and whimsical way. In this simple, quick, yet engaging, perceptual experience, SIGGRAPH 2004 attendees can envision the imaging technologies that will disappear into the fabric of lights and cameras that will envelop the future world. Understanding how these invisible technologies work will help the SIGGRAPH community conceive other applications and transfer the technologies to other areas, such as film, industrial robotics, machine vision, and machine learning.
This project illustrates the changing nature of graphics and imaging as they progress toward active illumination and changing patterns that help cameras and other sensors interpret their surroundings. This is a shift away from just making images for people to see and admire toward making images machines can make use of. Invisible structured lighting will be a theme over the next few years as adaptive illumination is used to enrich the data gathered by cameras.
The ultimate goal is to master the use of light, sound, chemistry, mechanics, and narrative to build a bridge between bits and bodies. Snared Illumination demonstrates the technology and the unique nature of the human as a perceptual being.
Fakespace Labs has been creating extremely fast time-sequential displays since 1996. Our latest work is based on the Texas Instruments Digital Micromirror Display, a nanotechnology optical device that is capable of switching pixels on and off at roughly 8 kHz rates. Until now, there has been no interface to enable pixel-level control at real-time rates or with arbitrary input. We have created a custom field programmable gate array and associated electronics that interface to TIÕs newly available Discovery boards with standard graphics interfaces. To allow for the required rapid data-transfer rates, we use standard graphics cards in a novel way: as a rapid data bus for 2kHz images formatted as raw data to the electronics. Previously, fixed-pattern sequence interfaces have been created (by our group and others) for use as structure light devices for rapid scanning. Our new approach and associated hardware are unique.
Snared Illumination also includes descriptions of new applications that employ this technology. For example, we are creating a system to display multiple images rapidly on a single common surface. Users wear special glasses that are clear for only a short moment every 60Hz. With such a system, many users can refer to a common map, with each user seeing different overlaid annotation. This allows for collaboration, cooperation, and communication for large and small groups of users. For example, the entire assembly of the United Nations could see a co-located projected display, with each delegate reading the text in a different language. We are also creating a system that uses a single projector and camera to both scan and project distortion-corrected imagery on a deformable surface.
Monday, 9 August
10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Fakespace Labs/Stanford University