DoCoMo, the Japanese mobile phone operator, can always be guaranteed to come up with something wacky at Mobile World Congress.
In previous years it has been phones with bad breath sensors so you don’t offend your mates down the pub when you talk, but this year it’s all about 3D, interactive 3D in fact.
Not content with allowing you to see and immerse yourself in 3D, the company is working on technology that will let you interact with it as well.
Called Touchable 3D Display, the idea is that you can feel the sensation of touching a 3D image says DoCoMo.
It works by combining a glass-less 3D display and a force feedback technology using magnetic forces so you think that you’ve actually interacted with what’s happening on the screen, even though you haven’t physically touched anything.
The three-dimensional position of the pen is tracked by two cameras within the system, and then according to the position of the pen an electric current is sent to the coil embedded behind the 3D display and magnetic power is felt via a magnet at the tip of the pen-type device.
In the case of the example at the DoCoMo stand, that meant a cartoon chameleon that tries to catch the pen with his tongue. If he does succeed then the pen vibrates strongly enough that if you aren’t holding it properly it will jump out of your hand.
If that sounds, absolutely bonkers, it’s because it is.
There is no word from the company when we will be able to see this technology in action on the street, however one word of warning; a notice at the stand did say that you should “not approach with magnetic-recorded cards”. Oh dear.