Display team creates texture-changing bubble screen (w/ Video)

Jul 01, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org) -- A team from three universities developed what they claim is the world’s thinnest screen from a bubble. They have figured out how to project images on soap film made of special properties and with a technique where images can run flat, textured, or even appear as if they were 3-D. They are using ultrasonic sound waves emitted from speakers to alter the surface. Also, they have found that by using a single projector, the texture of any image can be changed. An object such as a ball can be made to look smooth or rough. Their bubble is not the type of bubble waved away or popped by children at play.

They use a soap film made from a mixture of colloids that make the bubble hard to pop; in fact they explain that it is possible to poke the bubble screen and interact with it.

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Describing their work, the team does acknowledge that research on dynamic BRDF displays have been done in the past. (BRDF stands for "Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function," a four-dimensional function that defines how light is reflected at an opaque surface.) “Their work stands out, they note, in their use of controlling the screen with ultrasonic vibrations.

They wrote about this in a report titled “A Colloidal Display: membrane screen that combines transparency, BRDF and 3D volume.” The authors are Yoichi Ochiai, University of Tokyo, Alexis Oyama, Carnegie Mellon University, and Keisuke Toyoshima, University of Tsukuba.

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They point out that the ultrasonic waves and ultra thin membranes combined under their technique can render realistic, distinctive, and vivid on screen imagery.

The team is confident that their system can contribute to new and creative opportunities in display engineering and design. After all, interest is easily drawn in a bubble housing an image, where the bubble can be poked without breaking and which permits the person to interact with it, plus textures of images that can be changed on the fly. In the case of museums, it has been suggested that this bubble screen system could be used to floating planets. There are numerous possibilities for displays for any exhibition events. While a single screen is enough to alter the texture of a 2-D image, multiple screens can be combined for a 3-D effect.

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The system will be presented in August at Siggraph 2012, a conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques, in Los Angeles, from August 5 through August 9.

Explore further: Prototype display uses eyeglass prescription to allow for viewing devices without glasses

More information: 96ochiai.ws/colloidaldisplay

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User comments : 8

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Bowler_4007
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 01, 2012
this is by far the coolest thing i have ever seen, bravo
xen_uno
5 / 5 (1) Jul 01, 2012
Fantabulous!
Deadbolt
not rated yet Jul 01, 2012
Would displaying economic data on one be projected pessimism?
sirchick
3 / 5 (2) Jul 01, 2012
Would this remove the need for 3D glasses for TVs more importantly cos I hate those damn glasses!
nuge
5 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
You could see how with time and money devoted to development this could be pretty much perfected, if they find ways to reduce the swirling and stuff.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
You could see how with time and money devoted to development this could be pretty much perfected, if they find ways to reduce the swirling and stuff.

Just hope you don't own a dog. It'll go crazy (and any other animals that can hear into the ultrasonic ranges). Might have to encase this in a vacuum enclosure.

But the tech is certainly extremely cool.
Bowler_4007
not rated yet Jul 05, 2012
ok which freakshow down voted me for a completely positive comment ??
Bowler_4007
not rated yet Jul 05, 2012
antialias i don't think sound can travel through a vacuum, although i could imagine a vacuum inside of which would sit a container with some circuitry, a medium for sound to travel through and the bubble display stuff, the problem then is to physically seperate the inner container from the outer which could be done with magnets, like the floating globes, last problem is to supply it with power, solar panels are one option