The Future of Entertainment series by iQ by Intel and PSFK Labs is highlighting the latest in entertainment innovation. Over the course of 10 weeks at iq.intel.com, we are showcasing new products, services and technologies, exploring the changing face of how we consume, share and create content and getting reactions from Intel experts.
The trend Contextual Entertainment examines technologies that leverage data and sensors to not only recognize consumers, but are also able to respond with better content suggestions and create more personalized entertainment environments and experiences. As we take a closer look at the trend this week we will continue to explore how the latest innovations are creating a world that’s more customized to our individual preferences and behaviors.
In the same way that we now log into our Netflix or Amazon accounts to receive tailored recommendations on what to watch or buy, we’ll soon come to expect that same level of personal interaction wherever we go. As developers continue to network more of the products and systems inside our homes, our living spaces will be able to recognize each family member and their individual preferences –elements like temperature, lighting, entertainment – to adjust their settings accordingly. But how will that individual identification take place?
Researchers at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany envision a future where the surfaces in our homes provide this level of intelligence. Their GravitySpace Floor is a pressure-sensitive glass sheet that can detect and more impressively, recognize the people and furniture resting on it based on their weight and textures.
The eight square meter prototype is built out of a six-inch thick glass sheet (fitted into a hole in a normal floor) that is layered with a pressure sensitive film and contains infrared LED lights. Beneath, an infrared camera tracks people while a video projector shoots CGI imagery onto the floor, acting like a ‘mirror’ to generate computer animations that look and act like the people walking on it. As people’s footsteps interrupt the infrared light, an image of a footprint is captured by the camera and analyzed by an associated computer. Patrick Baudisch, supervisor on the project explains the underlying technology to New Scientist, saying "This pressure sensor is of such high resolution that the floor can recognize anything from shoe prints to fabric textures to someone's knees."
The possibilities of a near future when entire floors or walls inside our home become responsive interfaces are vast. A floor could sense when people enter and leave the room and, when integrated with other smart features, could enable our content to literally follow us throughout the house, eliminating the need for pause buttons completely. The video projection capabilities offer a whole new platform for gaming, enabling kids to kick around a virtual soccer ball without ever having to worry about breaking their mother’s favorite vase. And in a life-saving capacity, the floor could recognize if a person has fallen, alert a caregiver that assistance is needed.
As Ken Perlin, a Professor of Computer Science at NYU’s Media Research Lab, tells New Scientist, "The future of computer interfaces is to become more sensitive to people's needs. A floor that understands where you are and what you are doing is a logical step in that direction.”
An interactive floor that can recognize people and objects is also one step closer to an increasingly smart home. Used for entertainment and practical purposes, the pressure-sensing and recognition capabilities of the GravitySpace floor are just one example of how technology is becoming increasingly context-aware. It is but one manifestation of the Contextual Entertainment trend we are exploring this week. Be sure to check back in for another example of the trend – this time in television – in iQ by Intel’s Future of Entertainment series.
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