In previous blog postings, I have mentioned the Boom Chameleon.
The device was invented by the Autodesk Research group (formerly known as the Alias Research Group). It is basically a computer monitor mounted on a boom stand. As you move the monitor around, the display updates to reflect your movement. The position of the boom signals the computer as to how to update the display. For Autodesk University 2007, we allowed people to view the model of a car, walking around the car - seeing it from all angles. All that was missing was the actual car.
One day Autodesk Labs VP, Brian Mathews, mused "What if we did it without the boom?" We thought this idea had potential. What if we took a laptop, mounted a video camera to it, and pointed it at a known shape? As the laptop moved closer or farther away from the shape, the camera could detect this difference. As the laptop was tilted at various angles, the camera could detect that too. What if we wired in the detection of these camera changes to Autodesk Design Review? As the user moved the laptop around, the view of the model loaded in Autodesk Design Review could change accordingly. Could we do that? Yes, we can.
At World Press Days we showed a boomless chameleon. It provided the same functionality as the original boom chameleon without being attached to a boom. This allowed unfettered access to the design data. Imagine loading the design of a room you are standing in. Now turn off the visibility of the walls exposing the studs. As you move around the room, the studs behind the wall come in and out of view. Think of it as x-ray vision. Brian likes to call it the ultimate stud finder.
Continuing to research human computer interaction is alive in the lab.