By Evan Ackerman
Remember back when the display in Minority Report was the future technology that everyone was talking about? Well, now it’s the past, ’cause MIT’s Media Lab has come up with a display that can potentially do all that fancy gestural stuff, except without the gloves.
Called BiDi (for Bi-Directional), the display works on a very basic level a little bit like a Microsoft Surface table: there’s a screen, and behind that, there are cameras (of a sort) to watch what’s going on at the screen. And also like Surface, because cameras are in use as opposed to just a touch panel, the display is sensitive to actions that don’t directly contact it. Where the MIT display really takes the cake, though, is that it uses a field of optical sensors embedded in the display combined with some fancy image processing to make a detailed three dimensional map of exactly how far things are from the display, which not only allows you to make recognizable gestures much farther from the surface, but also allows you to gesture in and out. The LCD alternates back and forth very quickly between displaying and image and capturing data (sort of like Microsoft’s SecondLight Surface mod), and it does it so quickly that all you see is the image itself.
MIT says that they’re trying to steer away from novelty applications a bit, which is sad, but they hope to “inspire” LCD manufacturers to start working on this stuff. So, you know who you are: GET INSPIRED. I want one of these.