Watch this table replicate any 3D object put in front of a camera (VIDEO)
posted Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 1:51 PM EDT
Can you imagine putting an object — any object — in front of a camera, and having it instantly mimicked in 3D right next to you? That's the promise of a new piece of technology being worked on by Professor Hiroshi Ishii at the MIT Media Lab and his students. An object is placed in front of a camera, and a nearby rig uses a series vertical shafts to recreate it as a moving height map.
It's obviously a fairly low resolution representation of the object, and limited by the fact that it can only represent a solid height coming up from the base. But it's a fantastic concept. The 3D representation is instantaneous, and works well enough that it can be used to interact with a ball placed on the table itself. Combine that with a high-speed connection between two places, and you have a very impressive way of communicating 3D interactions between locations. (And for all the movie nerds in the audience, it also reminds us a bit of the 3D table from the original X-Men film.)
Based on the video, it seems the interface is also projecting a video feed down on top of the table, coloring it to look like the subject.
All told, it's an impressive piece of engineering. And while we're not entirely sure how useful it'll be — it's cool enough on its own to grab our attention.