Monday, August 11, 2008

Quick Post: Real Life Holodeck? 360 Degree, Interactive 3D Cinema

Michael here with a Seven magazine article with a peak at something that looks like it will bring us one step closer to the dream of a real-life holodeck: 360 degree interactive stereoscopic cinema:

"The technology will let audiences interact with 3D humanoid characters that are projected on the world’s first stereoscopic 360-degree cinematic theatre. Audiences, wearing 3D glasses, will be able to explore and edit a multitude of stories by wandering through a projected space and interacting with projected information as if it was real."

Viewers wearing three-dimensional glasses step inside a cylindrical cinema screen measuring four metres high and 10 metres in diameter.  Twelve digital projectors create a high-resolution stereoscopic 3D image on this screen, and the audio is spatially enhanced via a 24-channel surround sound system.

This "T_Visionarium" project is being developed at the iCinema Research Centre at the University of South Wales (UNSW), Australia.  The researchers there have already put together a meta-movie containing over 20,000 video clips to demonstrate the technology:

"Researchers at iCinema captured 28 hours of digital free to air Australian television over a period of one week. This footage was segmented and converted into a massive database containing over 20,000 video clips.

Each video clip was then tagged with descriptors known as metadata, which define the properties of the clip. Information can be encoded such as the gender of the actors, the dominant emotions they are expressing, the pace of the scene, and specific actions such as standing up, lying down, and telephoning. Having the video data segmented in this way deconstructs the original linear narrative into components that then become building blocks that the viewer can associate and re-assemble in an infinite number of ways."

It's great to see 3D technology being used to help push the cutting edge of entertainment in so many different ways.  I can't wait to see where this leads.

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Jim Dorey
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