The iCub is a robot project that uses the mind and physical dimensions of a human two-year old as its basic design model. Its developers, at RobotCub.org a European Union consortium reason that using a two-year old’s mind as a starting point, the iCub will gradually develop and learn much as a young human would, due to its ability to consolidate new information in meaningful ways. The project’s coordinator, Prof. Giulio Sandini, located at the University of Genova, believes that human intelligence derives from physical interaction with the world as well as mental processes, so the iCub’s dimensions are an important component of its future development.
The video below gives a nice overview of the project:
I wrote a post recently about 2009 shaping up to be a bumper year for mind-reading by machines. It looks like another breakthrough technology is also on the radar this year: 3D displays for laptops and mobile phones.
The adoption of any new paradigm such as 3D requires the development of three basic components:
• Capture technology – cameras that can acquire 3D video images or graphic software that can produce 3D
• Broadcast technology – capable of broadcasting stereo image information
• Display technology – monitors and mobile devices that can receive and display 3D video broadcasts
Canadian company Spatial View has been developing 3D capture and display technology which is marketed through its consumer brand, Wazabee, and seems to have the lead on other 3D mobile developers at the moment. Here’s a Macworld 2009 interview with Jason King, Spatial’s Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, where he talks about a Wazabee 19-inch display showing World of Warcraft in 3D:
As Jason explains, the monitor uses a parallax barrier display to create auto-stereoscopic 3D content that can be viewed without coloured or polarized glasses. This is one of two display technologies currently being developed for 3D TV, the other being a lenticular lens display (Spatial’s clip-on for the 13-inch Macbook is known as the 3Dee Flector). Another player in the lenticular display field is Singapore-based Alioscopy.
Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in Finland has a good overview of the two technologies. Atanas Boev maintains a blog on 3D Mobile displays which has an on-going discussion of the technology and the current state-of-the-art.
One broadcast technology that may fit the bill is Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld (DVB-H), described by Wikipedia as ”a technical specification for bringing broadcast services to mobile handsets”. Since 2008 it has been endorsed by the European Union as the “preferred technology for terrestrial mobile broadcasting”. Tampere University has been experimenting with DVB-H broadcasts of 3D content to mobile devices. The experimental platform is explained here.