Researchers showcase cylindrical mirror on iPad

October 30, 2011 by Nancy Owano, weblog

( -- A research team from a women's university in Japan is developing a cylindrical mirror for use with the multi-touch iPad. The mirror could send online shoppers into new optical highs. The group, from Ochanomizu Women’s University, recently demonstrated their mirror display. The device makes use of what they call "Anamorphicons," inspired by the term used for the optical illusion method of mirror anamorphosis.

The cylindrical mirror display works its magic when the user rotates the mirror on the so that objects reflected in the mirror are also rotated. This creates a 3-D illusion. An aluminum cap controls the cylinder. A team member detailed how it works in a DigInfo video.

Inspired by the anamorphosis method, the team worked on what they called an interactive system featuring their Anamorphicons. “The coordinates of two points on the bottom of the pillar are obtained by an iPad application. The coordinates of the pillar and the rotation angle are obtained relative to them, and the content is provided accordingly."

The pictures distorted by anamorphosis can be generated by converting them to polar coordinates using image processing software. The screen can switch among 70 pictures of an object from different angles, which are converted to polar coordinates and rotated in the mirror.

As an invention looking for an application, the university team is practical in suggesting, in the video demo, that their cylindrical mirror would be especially useful for online catalog shopping. Users, whether hunting for coats, wigs, or better mousetraps, like to see the object of their interest from all angles, front and back. Such a viewing experience on an iPad display makes shopping sense.

In fact, Miss Boo created a stir for the right reasons years ago, as an early avatar guiding online viewers through their online shopping with clothing views that could be rotated so that viewers could see more details in the clothing item. Then in 2000 Miss Boo created a stir for all the wrong reasons, in news that the short-lived shopping site was going bust. The site was upheld thereafter as a management case study of a failed attempt.

The cylindrical mirror for the iPad, however, is a reminder that there is always room for new technologies in new places that can pump up the online retail viewing experience.

"Looking at objects in an online shopping catalog through 360 degrees can already be done with Flash. But that's 2-D…I think it can be hard to truly get a feel of the item. Now, we can project information onto 3-D objects, and let users manipulate them by hand in a tangible fashion. So we think this system could be used to make shopping sites more user-friendly."

Explore further: Anti-mirror optical illusion could increase LED luminosity and laser power

More information: via Diginfo

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3 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2011
Interesting, needs some help.

1 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2011
I love that the concept of anamorphosis is being explored so enthusiastically by my friends in Japan. We share the same passion! My company, OOZandOZ, has been creating anamorphic educational activities for children for nearly twenty years and winning dozens of top toy awards along the way using our own software based on the classic method of creating morphed images. Gambate, ladies!!!
4 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2011
sorry but isn't it just a vertical 2d projection of the horizontal 2d rotation? or is there more to be seen when viewed live?
3 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2011
what is so special about this?
5 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2011
sorry but isn't it just a vertical 2d projection of the horizontal 2d rotation? or is there more to be seen when viewed live?

Nope, that's it. What a complete waste of time.
3 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2011
You have to lay your tablet down to use a separate physical device that has a mirror on it that serves no purpose because the exact same image is already on the tablet and you can't see what's on the mirror either. That much better than using your fingers.
5 / 5 (1) Oct 31, 2011
Congratulations to Ochanomizu Womens University for breaking the stereotype that women are obsessed with shopping and mirrors. Maybe version 2.0 will feature a makeup app.
not rated yet Oct 31, 2011
Dentistry, to see a rotated view of a tooth.
not rated yet Oct 31, 2011
You can display 2d photos of objects taken from different angles? That's it? It would be easier to rotate with the finger rather than with the cylinder.
not rated yet Nov 13, 2011
figures that scientists would be confused by a product innovation. obviously not a new technology, mirrors have existed for thousands of years. this is however an interesting product. i don't think that it will be successful, but its cool to see someone create an novel experience with simple tools.

just like the ball throwing robot in another story on here. I can throw a ball better than the robot. what use is it? the goal is to find new uses for the technology we have. the cylindrical mirror might never sell, but it could inspire a truly useful interface a few years down the line.

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