SIGGRAPH 2004 - The 31st international conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques
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Pop Up!: A Novel Technology for Shape Display of 3D Objects
Pop Up! is a new visual and tactile display for presenting 3D shapes using a pin-rod matrix that conveys visual depth information and is designed to be touchable. Due to its broad range of movement, it is capable of displaying large-scale, dense objects such as human faces, geographical features and landscapes.

Life Enhancement
When they create digital artwork with this Pop Up! display, artists can see not only a 2D perspective, but also a complete, touchable 3D shape. The form can be directly modified with hand motions, just like sculpting with clay. CG artists share a common dream: to directly manipulate 3D CG works with their own hands, but only classical and bulky force-feedback devices have even partially achieved this objective.

Pop Up! can also be used to create powerful advertising. Almost all visual advertising displays 2D images, on paper, in video, or on billboards. With Pop Up! advertisers could display large objects and change their shapes in real time.

In the near future, 3D information will be shown not only in 2D flat displays, but also in true 3D systems. Pop Up! is an infant example of this next-generation display technology. The system solves three practical problems: speed, density, and pixel volume. In a few years, it might be hard to imagine life without Pop-Up!

One goal is realization of a "face phone" that can display dynamic range-finder data obtained from a human face. Conventional videoconference technology can convey vocal and visual information, but a "face phone" could also convey a sense of existence, which would enhance human communication.

The ultimate goal is for Pop Up! to become a substitute or supplement to the traditional LCD or CRT display, to enhance its quality and modality as a 3D interface.

The most important innovation of this display is its use of a coil-formed shape memory alloy (SMA) as an actuator. Ordinary SMA does not have a long stroke, and the movement is quite slow, which is the main reason why it is generally avoided as an actuator. To improve its response rate, the SMA was formed into a coil, which enables much faster cooling than previous SMAs. Thanks to its thinness, speed, and simplicity, it is an ideal actuator for Pop Up!

Activating multiple actuators at the same time is another technical challenge. Because the goal of this project is to drive 32 X 32 pin rods, it uses a "matrix drive" method. In most matrix-drive systems, such as those used in LCDs, each element reaches its target luminance instantly. But the SMA reaches its target position with some delay, which is a function of its previous position. Therefore, the challenge is to optimize time scheduling, to determine how much time should be assigned to each pin rod. Pop Up! features a custom-optimized controlling algorithm that enables real-time display.

Tuesday, 10 August
10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room 404AB

Masashi Nakatani
The University of Tokyo

Hiroyuki Kajimoto
Naoki Kawakami
Dairoku Sekiguchi
Susumu Tachi
The University of Tokyo

emerging technologies jury and committee
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Conference 8-12 August, Exhibition 10-12 August.  In Los Angeles, CA