That is a word I heard uttered over and over in the Vancouver Convention Center at SIGGRAPH 2014 (The 41st International Conference and Exhibition of Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques). That word was an understatement.
At Multi Image Group we are constantly hunting down the most innovative and attention-grabbing technology to help our clients tell their stories and deliver their messages in meaningful and unforgettable ways. We literally travel to all parts of the world to create relationships with groundbreaking designers, up-and-coming inventors, and technology virtuosos. So, when I saw this year’s slate of offerings at the Emerging Technologies portion of SIGGRAPH 2014, I knew that Gabe Rojas (Senior Designer – Re-Imagine & Design) and I had to attend.
There were so many “wow-inducing” technologies Gabe and I encountered that it’s difficult to even begin to tell you about them all, so we’ve narrowed them down to five that really sparked our imaginations and got us excited about their potential use in the world of corporate communications.
These first three are pretty out there and still need some future development, but you can definitely see the potential of where they’re going.
#1: PIXIE DUST
Yes, they really call it “pixie dust.” Imagine that you could throw a handful of white sand-like particles into the air then it all comes together to form a three-dimensional logo of your company that floats in front of you as you move it around . . . this is just one of the possibilities that could occur with “pixie dust.” These particle graphics would be generated by something called a “computational acoustic-potential field.” In other words, sound waves. The sound captures objects in midair and then allows you to move them around. This breathtaking technology is being developed at the University of Tokyo and the Nagoya Institute of Technology. Check it out for yourself here: http://vimeo.com/102459167
HORN also used sonic technology to create virtual 3D holographs that you can actually feel with your fingers. It was an odd sensation to experience because it allowed you to touch virtual objects, pinch them, move them, and even feel texture . . . but in reality you’re just moving your hand around in empty air. HORN stands for Hapt-Optic ReconstructioN. Yeah, I didn’t know what “haptic” meant either, so I looked it up. It is a technical term that is related to the sense of touch and perception and manipulation of objects. So imagine you have trade show display wherein you could have someone physically reach out and touch an object (like a virtual can of soda) and move it (to pour out the virtual liquid into a virtual glass) and even stick your fingers in the soda and feel the fizz. It’s not difficult to imagine how a variety of industries might want to take advantage of this multi-sensory tech (and one of them rhymes with horn)…. And to think all of this will soon be possible. This technology is also being developed at the University of Tokyo. http://vimeo.com/102480457
This technology is also connected to the touch sensation, but it uses magnets to direct your hand or body with an illusory pulled sensation. As I held one of these devices in my hand, I could feel a strong pulling sensation as it guided my hand to make a drawing. The applications of this technology range from allowing the blind to easily make their way through a busy office place, surgeon’s hands might one day be guided through a difficult technique, an artist could share the sensation of what it’s like to sketch out a beautiful portrait or an intricate blueprint. You could even take a virtual dog for a walk. Imagine guiding your prospective clients directly to your booth at a tradeshow! This technology is being developed by NTT Communication Science Laboratories in Japan. http://vimeo.com/102459317
And now for some technology that we discovered that is available TODAY and has a lot of fun potential.
Very similar to the HORN technology we got to experience, zSpace is already offering to the public a totally frustration free 3D virtual environment technology that uses a vibrating feedback pen that allows you to precisely touch and move objects in a very smooth, natural, and intuitive manner. This is technology that you can buy right now and is already being used by medical professionals and educators to help people explore, visualize, and learn in an immersive experience. We see a lot of uses for it in the events industry for many of our existing and future clients. The zSpace devices are making unforgettable presentations more intimate and more unforgettable for all involved. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQA1ehRJ8Og
#5: 360˚ CAMERAS
This final technology has been around for a bit and was shown in multiple formats all over SIGGRAPH 2014, but the technology is improving. There were several companies that were presenting their take on creating a seamless 360˚ viewing experience using either their proprietary technology (like the KickStarter Bublam) or existing technology (like the patented 360Heros device that uses multiple GOPRO cameras). We instantly saw the potential of creating more immersive experiences at live events for large audiences using surrounding screen projections. Also, I like the idea of us capturing on-site footage in this manner to help create some good social media buzz. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bublcam/bublcam-360o-camera-technology-for-everyone and https://shop.360heros.com
There were so many WOW-inducing technologies we saw at SIGGRAPH 2014 that inspire us to create new and exciting communication opportunities for our Multi Image Group clients. What I love most about our team is that we are constantly discovering ways to leverage these ingenious inventions to spotlight a client’s message; It is important to us to get their product the attention it deserves and while giving their story a powerful impact, even if it’s simply planting a seed that will never be forgotten.
I look forward to sharing with you some more of our discoveries as we continue traveling around the world looking for the next “Wow!”