MIT Team’s New Tech Enables Users to ‘Touch’ Videos


Handling techThe Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) CSAIL lab is currently working on a new tech designed to enable users interact with and manipulate objects in videos. The team tries to recreate the same effects touching a real-world object would generate.

In other words, you could watch a YouTube tutorial on how to play a guitar and you could literally touch the musical instrument’s strings with your mouse and see them vibrate just like in the real world.

The CSAIL team explained that the new tech called Interactive Dynamic Video (IDV) is based on the vibrations each objects emits in a video. The vibrations are caught by cameras and analyzed by a special computer algorithm.

The computer software needs just five seconds of footage to capture enough of the object’s vibrations to recreate a model that predicts how the object would react when being ‘touched’ or interacted with.

As of now, to embed such technology in movies or video games requires a lot of time, people and money as virtual models are not based on computer algorithms that can predict movement. So far, Hollywood has managed only to transpose virtual characters onto real-world settings like in the Who Framed Roger Rabbit movie, but the idea of a fully interactive film has remained just a dream.

Pokemon Go, the tremendously popular augmented reality smartphone app played by more than 9 million users every day, pushed things a bit further: it managed to make animated characters known as pokemons to spawn in the real world.

The MIT team believes that a blend of Pokemon Go and IDV could lead to interesting results. For instance, imagine a Pikachu that interacts with the surroundings it is in. The IDV alone could also make alien-invasion-themed flicks a lot more engaging.

Researchers expect that the new tech could make people more interested in augmented and virtual realities. Augmented reality has captured the world’s attention with Pokemon Go, but analysts believe that the fad is short-lived.

If more money is poured in the technology as it becomes mainstream, the VR and AR technologies will become less expensive. This could boost demand and make developers more interested in them. So, we could soon witness a new generation of interactive video games reshaping the world.
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