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Best of SIGGRAPH: display and input technologies

There are as many SIGGRAPH's as there are attendees, but here's the best of my SIGGRAPH, for display and input technologies.

High Dynamic Range displays are a new display technology which produce a larger color gamut by adding a secondary light source to the standard pixel grid. Mitsubishi had an amazing desktop LED-backlit LCD which gives extremely high-brightness. In Emerging Technologies, there was a demonstration from Sunnybrook Tech and UBC with an even brighter backlit LCD. It really glowed.

The Barco I-Wall is an amazingly bright projection display. I didn't think projection displays could get that bright, especially not in the moderate indoor lighting of the siggraph show floor. Apparently this uses DLP technology, which I don't yet understand. I would love to see Brown upgrade the Cave projectors to these.

Sound Flakes, an installation in Emerging Technologies, was a fun, calm, and pleasant experience. Several faucets dripped both water and colored sillhouettes of stars, dots, frogs, leaves into a small wading pool. A large red spoon could scoop up the glyphs; when it picked up a glyph, the tone associated with that color would sound. The pool/faucet/spoon combination became a serendipitous musical instrument.

I fell in love with the Spaceball, a six-degree-of-freedom controller. The spaceball has been around for at least a decade, but the graphics hardware is finally fast enough to make the interaction feel extremely nuanced. Nuanced, nuanced, nuanced. 6DOF means that I can control x, y, and z translation as well as x, y, and z rotation, also known as pitch, roll, and yaw. I experimented with using the Spaceball for camera and object control in 3ds max, and I was in love. They are priced fairly affordably, somewhere in the $300 range I think.

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