Well it is CeBit time again, with the usual halls of exhibitors at Darling Harbour. I always go with very low expectations and seem to come away after a pretty long morning having a fun time. 2008 slots beautifully into this mould for me. The whole event only works if you actually go up and talk to these people, it doesnt really work as just a way to browse around and look at things show - here are a few of my highlights:
The aamhatch guys and their spherical (11 camera) rig creates what amounts to a video version of a QTVR really. As the video plays along, say following a car driving along a road, we can manipulate the view point to look forwards, backward, anywhere in 360 degrees. I can see some great applications in showing both interior and exterior spaces for the architecture and design programs here. The logic is quite similar to the Google work, but this has a video logic instead. The site has 3 great examples that are well worth a look:
[images from aamhatch showing a glimpse of the 360 videos]
CSIRO Wireless Location
I always love the CSIRO stand, this year being no exception. Mark Johnson was showing off a wireless tracking system (WASP) that works with each node forming part of the detection 'grid' as well as being tracked. He talked about applications for people like the fire department where they can turn up to a building and get immediate live location and health data on their firefolk on the spot as they enter a hazardous building.
I talked to him about some of our ideas for FBE, things like mapping the usage of building, both under regular conditions and for things like evacuations. Though there was still plenty more work to do - the demo running showed the kind of data that would be available - in this case cool dots moving around on a plan of a building.
CSIRO Virtual Adviser
Steven Ark and co have been working on a virtual adviser, who is a 3D character in the computer (closeup shot) which can be the interface for IT systems. She (or one of many other faces) can respond to voice commands and convey emotion in her face and voice as well. When I suggested she looked a bit grumpy, Steve entered a command into the command line interface with a new emotion value and she became a little happier. Plus, in delivering a line of text with a high 'certainty' value, she was quick and confident in her delivery of the words, when less certain she sounded hesitant and spoke less assuredly and quickly.
Alas no pictures for this one, but still it was very cool to see it running.
At the very end we saw a 3D monitor at the PeripheralsPlus stand which didnt use any glasses or other bits and pieces. We simply see the image popping out from the screen, not perfectly in lots of cases, but still extremely interesting (have to get one to try out).
I am always drawn to the WACOM kit, and it is about time we got into the Cintiq game - be it the beautiful new smaller versions or their bigger cousins. I had fun playing briefly with painter on the 12WX - see below for a real talent using it:
[Image of the Cintiq 12WX that I got to play with at the WACOM stand (image from their site)]