ARTICLES | July 13th, 2006
Spherical Television Arriving this Christmas?

The Science Museum announced today that it will be playing host to a dazzling demonstration of future video gaming and entertainment technologies with a special event to run over three days in the run up to Christmas. The event, running parallel to the museum’s history of gaming museum Game On, is named Future Playground and will give members of the public access to cutting edge display and human interface technologies with twice-daily sessions on the 18th, 19th and 20th of December.

The new devices include the latest in interactive chairs combined with a revolutionary 3D screen, a giant spherical television and a unique sound activated film. These impressive and exciting new technologies will be installed in the Science Museum?s Antenna space, an area of the museum dedicated to a constantly updating exhibition exclusively for news and new developments in science. The experts behind each invention will be on-hand throughout to provide information and context during the twice-daily sessions.

The Active Chair:
The Active Chair ? created by robotics expert Dr Brian Duffy ? is a translation of commercial simulator technologies into an interactive chair for individuals. It will be on display with a curved 3d personalised screen system, created by Immersive Displays ltd, showing new animations by SMARTlab artists. Together these technologies provide an immersive 3D experience. The Active Chair has been designed especially for use by people with disabilities and is being trialled at the Stephen Hawking School. But it is also accessible and fun for all. Capable of moving up, down, left and right with a large degree of motion, the Active Chair?s possibilities for video gaming and entertainment applications are obvious, and visitors will get a chance to take a ride when visiting the event.

The PufferSphere is a huge spherical display device with a diameter of two and a half metres, developed by a company spun out of the University of Edinburgh. Previously seen at festivals and art installations, the Puffersphere installed as part of Future Playground event will be displaying specially created animations throughout the run, providing a unique insight into the future of display technologies. But it?s not just something to stare longingly at; uniquely for a display device, it?s also very tactile, and visitors will be encouraged to touch the screen.

Sound Activated Animation:
This marriage of sound and vision provides visitors with a screen displaying a series of short animations, which are changed when the viewer sings a specific note. A computer analyses the sound to make sure the sung note is within the tolerated range. In practice, this translates to an interactive film that reacts based on viewer input. If the viewer sings the right note for long enough, the screen may appear to smash. Designed by Dr Christopher Hales, this technology shows how integration of sound and vision will form the future of entertainment.

This event is free and takes place in the Antenna gallery in the Wellcome Wing of the Science Museum in the UK. Professor Lizbeth Goodman (SMARTlab Director) will be on site to introduce the teams and ?toys? on 18 December.

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