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Direct Digital Manufacturing

Technology
Direct Digital Manufacturing
Saturday, December 08, 2007
2 Comments :: Article Rating :: Computer Graphics, Robotics, Mechanical Engineering, e-commerce

You browse the site looking for the product you are interested in. You read some of the reviews to see what other people think of it. You check all the images, 3D models of the product and its interactive features. Finally you decide that it’s worth the money and you go ahead and pay for it. Somewhere else, in the middle of the country, a machine comes to life. It has received a command from an online retailer to make a product. The machine is given the Universal Standard Identification Number of the product. It contacts a product database and downloads the latest design data for your selected product. This digital data contains all the information necessary to manufacture the product. Having finished downloading the data, it starts the fabrication process using appropriate material. After a while, the fabrication of different components of the product is completed. These parts are assembled together with an assembly robot. The product is then sent via conveyors for packaging and is finally shipped to you.

This is the future of rapid product manufacturing and delivery. Today, such technology is mainly used by engineers for rapid prototyping. As the machines become more sophisticated, as the internet gets more mature and as global logistics becomes ever more efficient, there comes a time that products are made one at a time based on order; manufacture-on-demand. Perhaps there will always be a need to mass manufacture common products for efficiency, but as the Long Tail has shown us, there is a lot of scope in making low-volume products with infinite diversity for every taste.

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Avatar

Technology
Avatar
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
2 Comments :: Article Rating :: Artifical Intelligence, Computer Graphics, Psychology, Media

Everyone is looking at you. You look gorgeous. Every now and then few people invite you to become their friend. You have a huge network of them. You feel very confident. You tend to switch your cloth every two hours. Won’t take much effort tough. You just want to experiment. It makes you feel better when you are always appropriately dressed depending on your surrounding environment. Now you decide to go and show off your latest dress on a catwalk. You look so real and so magnificent. Let’s have some fun …

This is the virtual world of our dreams. Your avatar is the representation of your digital self. As it was fantastically portrayed in the movie, The Matrix, your avatar can become a big part of you when you are in a very realistic looking virtual world. People will be paying a lot of attention to their avatar in a virtual world.

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Immersive Peripheral Interfaces

Technology
Immersive Peripheral Interfaces
Friday, November 30, 2007
0 Comments :: Article Rating :: Computer Graphics, Gadgets, Mechanical Engineering, Human-Machine Interface

You step in the zone. You are in a jungle. You can hear sound of strange creatures around you. You draw your sword. The fun is to about to begin. There will be lots of hack and slashing. Your pulse is getting faster. Your senses are sharp and you are tense. From the corner of your eye you see some movement. This is it! You raise your sword, spin around, make a double duck move while pressing the button on the sword which makes you fly three times higher than normal and land behind the creature. Then, woosh, and its head rolls down … Wooh you have made it. You wipe your sweat off your forehead. Let’s move on.

An immersive 3D capture device can monitor your movements in the real world and map them to the virtual world you are interacting with.

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Machinima

Technology
Machinima
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
0 Comments :: Article Rating :: Artifical Intelligence, Computer Graphics, Media, e-commerce
Ever wanted to visualise your fantasies and see them like a video? Or perhaps you wanted to express your creativity after seeing a movie and try it the way you wanted to see the story unfold. In recent years, Machinima has helped the rapid production of story-focused in-game fan videos. Using a game engine and environment, a Machinima creator, also called Machinimator, can use existing game characters, sets and environment to create a film. Of course new sets and characters can also be created and added to the world. This result is then compiled, captured, edited and made into a film.

As animations become more realistic and easier to make, there will be a huge interest to make videos for good stories that are not yet told. On one side of the spectrum, ultra-realistic animations are becoming ever more popular. These however are usually designed by professional with access to high-end software and render-farms.

On the other side of the scale, average users may just want to visualise a fantasy with semi-realistic graphics and be willing to give up the realism for tool simplicity. In this case, the ease of video production is the key. The current trend in Machinima is the use of scenario builders in 3D games to create videos out of the components provided by the games. These editors are usually used to make the game itself, so they are incredibly powerful tools. What you can make with them is only limited by what each game engine can artistically provide. Apart from game engines, Machinima can also be created using virtual reality tools such as Second Life. These can be much more open and cover a wide range of possibilities; though they may not have the fancy polish and style of latest games (see a movie made in Second Life).

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Location Based Information Delivery

Technology
Location Based Information Delivery
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
0 Comments :: Article Rating :: Computer Graphics, Gadgets, Human-Machine Interface

Suppose you are driving and suddenly see a nice mountain far away in the background. You and your partner are curious to know what it is called. It stands out from the environment, so it must be well known. You both are now curious to know if it is worthy of a visit. But you want to make a decision before getting to the next junction, you probably have to turn at some point to get off your main route and go visit it. Your partner simply activates your Location Based Information Delivery Device and gets to annotate your environment with names. The device shows you the names of the main features of the environment overlaid on a 3D map of the world around you. You can then get extra information such as height of the mountain and its history (derived from sites such as Wikipedia). You can also get a list of businesses around the area to get a feel for what the place stands for. All of this takes places in a space of 45 seconds. You still have time to decide if you want to go and re-plan your journey to the new destination which is as easy as tapping on the mountain to get your route planner re-plan your journey.

This is not long term future. This is about to happen very soon. Such information delivery devices will become critical part of everyday life for many people, just as mobile phones have become today.

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