Emerging Technologies Fact Sheet

The Facts A Quote from the SIGGRAPH 2006 Emerging Technologies Chair
"A connecting thread throughout the 2006 Emerging Technologies is the use of technology in new and creative measures that were never previously imagined. In many cases, the outputs of this interaction are unique innovations and original ideas," commented Tom Craven, SIGGRAPH 2006 Emerging Technologies Chair recently retired from The Walt Disney Company. "It is inspiring that such depth of technology and creativity in human/computer interaction will take place in a region known for its great achievements in technology and research."

SIGGRAPH 2006 Emerging Technologies highlights include:

Forehead Retina System
Contact: Hiroyuki Kajimoto
The University of Tokyo
A small camera and 512 forehead-mounted electrodes capture the frontal view, extract outlines, and convert the data to tactile electrical stimulation. The system is primarily designed for the visually impaired, but it can be a third eye for users with normal sight. The device will be perfected so that it can be used by a blind marathon runner in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

Potential Future Use: Provide the visually impaired an inexpensive, lightweight, and fully functional system that provides rich, dynamic 2D information.


Virtual Open Heart Surgery: Training Complex Surgical Procedures in Congenital Heart Disease
Contact: Thomas Sangild Sørensen
University of Aarhus, Denmark
This is the first surgical simulator to fully utilize the GPU to achieve a significant computational speedup for complex heart surgery. Morphologically accurate models of congenitally malformed hearts were reconstructed from 3D MRI data and integrated in graphical settings representing the surgical environment.

Potential Future Use: For the first time, surgeons can rehearse open-heart surgery in a virtual environment, which will help accelerate learning curves and improve patient safety.


The Virtual Humanoid
Contact: Michihiko Shoji, NTT DoCoMo
An augmented-reality system that synchronizes a humanoid robot and a virtual avatar, the Virtual Humanoid's technology can be merged with many other technologies such as mixed reality, computer graphics, and artificial intelligence.

Potential Future Use: A sophisticated humanoid robot capable of fluid interaction.


Powered Shoes
Contact: Hiroo Iwata, The University of Tsukuba
A revolutionary advancement for entertainment and simulation applications, Powered Shoes is a locomotion interface actuated by two motors with flexible shafts. This wearable device enables omni-directional walking while maintaining the user's position.

Potential Future Use: Expanding the horizon of virtual reality to advance education, training, entertainment, and research.


Perceptual Attraction Force: The Sixth Force
Contact: Tomohiro Amemiya, NTT Communication Science Laboratories
The first handheld, force-feedback device that is easily mobile and usable in multiple environments including outdoors. It can be embedded in cellular devices to create a new tool for communicating with gestures, guiding users along a path, teaching the perfect golf swing, dancing, and much more.

Potential Future Use: A GPS system that guides by force to your destination -- could also be used to assist the visually impaired.


bubble cosmos
Contact: Masahiro Nakamura, University of Tsukuba
A radically new visual effect, this system produces real bubbles containing white smoke and computer graphic images. The image appears on the smoke inside the bubble and conveys the effect that the graphic is inside the bubble, rather than appearing on the bubble surface. The system is able to determine when the bubble pops or disappears, and timed sound effects create an unexpected explosion. The image begins swaying like spreading smoke.

Potential Future Use: Serving as a new advertising presentation medium or an educational tool for children.


Embossed Touch Display: Illusory Elongation and Shrinking of Tactile Objects
Contact: Hideyuki Ando, NTT Communication Science Laboratories
A new tactile display that can present any given width of objects, The Embossed Touch Display gives the perception that as an object is touched, it elongates or shrinks. In the visual image, the object moves relative to the hand that touches it, and the illusory width of the object can be seen.

Potential Future Use: Sense of touch will be available for displays that were once limited to sense of sight


DigiWall
Contact: Mats Liljedahl, The Interactive Institute
An interactive climbing wall with illuminating hand and foot grips. Sensors set in the grips and multiple audio speakers enable computer-controlled interactive musical and physical games. It explores how a computer game experience can enhance physical conditioning and how sound and music can support a narrative in a large, interactive scenario.

Potential Future Use: Opens up the potential of whole-body movement as a way to interact with computer systems.


The Huggable: A Therapeutic Robotic Companion for Relational, Affective Touch
Contact: Walter Dan Stiehl, Massachussetts Institute of Technology Media Lab
A new type of robotic companion inspired by pet-therapy research, the Huggable features a full-body sense of touch; silent, smooth voice-coil actuators; and an embedded, networked PC. Furthermore, the Huggable's advanced "sensitive skin" technology is able to distinguish between petting, tickling, scratching, slapping, and many other tactile interactions. It is also capable of communicating (data and video) automatically with caregivers to provide feedback on a patient's overall health.
Potential Future Use: Whether serving as a low-maintenance companion or as an automatic medical communicator, the Huggable addresses a much needed void in the aging baby boomer population and the continued nursing shortage. Also, it could serve as a reassuring device for parents dependent on child care.

SIGGRAPH 2006 Emerging Technologies opens 30 July at 1 pm and closes 3 August at 5 pm.

Complete Emerging Technologies information