Coming Soon: Tabletop Fog Screens for 3D Interactions

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You might be able to watch the Game of Thrones series finale on a screen made of fog. North of the Wall scenes have never looked more mystical.  
Researchers are unveiling a tabletop display with screens made from curtains of mist. By allowing you to reach through the screen, the system also creates a 3D “interaction space.” Using your finger as a cursor, you can move images around, from the 2D fog screen to the space between the screen and the tabletop. 
It’s called MisTable, and it was developed by a University of Bristol team led by Sriram Subramanian and Diego Martinez Plasencia. The setup consists of a fog machine, water reservoir, and distribution chamber that are all connected underneath a table; pipes bring up the fog to create the screens. And projectors on top of the setup deliver the images.  
You can also put physical objects — such as a map or a stand — on the table behind the screen. And according to Subramanian, the system is ideal for group work. Someone sitting diagonally across the table from you can have their own mist screen, and you simply move content from your personal screen to the tabletop, and back to your’s or your buddy’s face. “Users can be aware of each other’s actions and can easily switch between interacting with the personal screen to the tabletop surface or the interaction section.”
The work will be presented at the ACM CHI 2014 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Toronto later this month. 
Image/video: Bristol Interaction and Graphics group, University of Bristol

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