Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pandora technology - touch sensitive fake blue plants

The website DVICE has an article talking about Disney's recent display of fake plant technology at SIGGRAPH. That external article says Disney has no intended uses in mind for the technology, but we all know that's not true. This is for Pandora.

One of the weirdest things on display (by far) was this system from Disney research for tactile interaction with cyborg plants. 
To turn a live plant into an interactive cyborg, all it takes is a small electronic chip, a display system, and a single wire stuck into the soil. The wire is a sensor that passively measures the electrical properties of the plant, and when you then touch the plant, it measures how those properties change and visualizes the interaction on a display. With some initial calibration, it's possible to use that one wire to tell exactly where the plant is being touched, allowing the interaction go to beyond just poking and prodding and to stroking and full-on fondling, as you'll see in the vid. 
Disney Research, which developed this system for some reason that neither we nor they seem to entirely understand, says that "a broad range of applications is possible with this technology: designing interactive, responsive environments; developing a new form of living interaction devices; and developing ambient and pervasive interfaces."

I really hope we see a very large indoor (air-conditioned) nighttime Pandora. This image makes it look like they may do exactly that.

There's a video on the original article site - check it out and see if you're as impressed as me!

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.