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BitDrones pave way for 3D computers

Work & Lifestyle

Human Media Lab uses stereoscopic video capture and BitDrones to create ‘programmable matter’ for a 3D computer interface.

The varied potential of drone quadrocopters are becoming apparent — their applications now include emergency first aid and infectious disease control. Following a different path, The Human Media Lab at Queens University, Kingston, is using drones to realize the vision of 3D computer programs.

In a room fitted with several cameras, small flying BitDrones organize themselves in 3D space the same way an operating system would on a computer screen. Fitted with displays to become “flying 3D pixels of programmable matter”, the drones allow users to physically interact with a program. Users can look through files by dragging and manipulating the forward-facing drones. Different categories of drones exist for various purposes — ShapeDrones can be user-manipulated to visualize “real-reality” 3D models, and DisplayDrones can be used for video activity such as Skype, so users can discuss their 3D models over collaborative networks in real-time.

By using drones, the Human Media Lab have presented a vision of 3D computers previously considered the stuff of science fiction. Which industries can use 3D computer systems?



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