Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Bridge.

A long time ago, in an office or school far far away; I/O hardware was limited to keyboards , mice, printers and monitors; one had to type a command or click on a button and wait for the computers response. Just like the green and black monitors of old this hardware to will soon fade from memory, forced into the obscurity of Wikipedia and PC hardware books...but by what you ask. A new generation of I/O hardware is emerging that promises to seamlessly blend interaction with your digital world and your real world. Just one of these devices could fill an entire thesis paper but I'd like to cover a few of them rather briefly in this short blog post.

E-Ink, I'm sure you've heard this term floating around at one point in the other. E-Ink was originally a concept devised by OS programmers to allow seamless integration of written characters into TXT and Grahpics based enviorments, I.E your doctor drawing on your Xray on a touch screen pc. E-Ink has now evolved into a pratical replacment for printed media, one of the major issues of reading anything on a PC for long periods of time is eye fatigue; this is the main reason why digital distribution of printed content never really took off. New advances in E-Ink technology and even LED technology have allowed companies to solve that issue and the matter of power consumption. Below are three examples of said devices.
Toshibas New Sign.
Tokyo Subway
E-Ink Demo
Super Thin Display

This segways neatly into my next topic of interest, I-Displays. We breifly discussed I or Interactive displays in Monday's class with Microsofts Surface being the theme. For years end users and programers alike have tried to find a more natural way to interact with PC's and the content stored on them; trackballs, stylus, touch screens. These are just a few of the technologies that have surfaced thanks to work in this feild. Today however alot of the technology that was once relegated to high end users, coperate applications and in some cases military technology has slowly trickleled into the mian stream market. One of the most popular of these technologies is the interactive display, a screen that can be easily touched and manipulated with no obvious software layer. You just intuitively interact with the device and it excutes the desired command; and trust me it is as fun as it sounds. Here are a few video demonstrations after the break.
Data Vizulation And Traditional Interaction.
Analog Meets Digital
Sea Dragon
Water Board

The power of current day processors and GPU's makes this kind of interaction possible and not ludacriously expensive, ensuring that commercial and possibly even private acess to these technologies is less and less of a dream. Speaking of which..something I've been itching to show off, the new ATI Radeon 4870 GPU, packing GDDR5 memory running at speeds over 1ghz and only costing 300 dollars this GPU is capable of realtime video processing, physics processing and variable geomerty processing , it is also capable of putputing video and audio directly through a HDMI cable.
Tech Demo

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