We've seen the future of public displays and holograms, and they like to be touched
From 3D holograms to touchscreens that can be measured in metres, we've touched the future of public displays. Literally.
At the Flux Innovation Lounge in east London, organised by Engage Productions, some of the world's most advanced displays were shown off.
One that's always going to drop jaws was a holographic display from Space3D. No, it wasn't Princess Leia floating in front of us asking for Obi Wan's help, but a logo – in a glass pyramid. Holograms might not be at the stage where they can be displayed in the air yet but even within glass they still look impressive. The Windows logo and a ball of flame appeared three dimensional and almost solid thanks to the high resolution.
But the main event at this show was clearly the mighty MultiTaction Multitouch Display Wall. This was a £250,000 wall made up of 42-inch multi-touch displays which can recognise "infinite fingers", we were told. A user can simply press and hold a point on the screen to bring up the menu. Choose a Google search, for example, then two fingered pinching can decrease and increase window size. A tap of the lock icon then lets you type inside the window – a giant Pocket-lint, for example was a few taps away. But how is this useful?
For business meetings a person can tag-in using NFC from a card or phone creating a folder for them. Then any files shared on the screen can be dragged to that folder where they are automatically emailed to the address associated with the tagged card or phone. This tech has also been used in restaurants as tabletops, so there's hope for public use in the future.
Google Glass made an appearance at the show too. The software that was being shown off was capable of translating what was written in front of the Glass camera. We popped them on to take a look at a "Danger" notice written in Spanish. Near instantly the words were translated into English before our eyes. An impressive bit of Glass software for when travelling. HeadsUpVentures, who created this, could be worth keeping an eye on in future. Pun intended.
Planar is a digital display company that had an interesting box unit on display. This featured a glass window that allowed whatever was inside to be viewed, while overlaying graphics on the screen. In this case a paid of Nike trainers were on display with varying screens overlaid, including total blackout, the Nike logo, and an explanation of Nike+.
Finally a totem was being used to show off multi-angle projection. This is the kind of technology used in publicity stunts that throw huge videos and images on buildings. To see it on multiple surfaces was impressive and shows that no surface is safe from advertising in the near future.
While all these displays were cool, as the Google Glass example showed we may soon all be looking at the world in augmented reality – making screens a distant memory anyway.