09.10.13

Curved displays take design from nature

Disney researchers have utilised 3D printing technology to create curved displays that are free of distortion. By creating light channeling tubes arranged in a Fibonacci sequence, such as seeds are arranged in certain flowers, light can be directed and bent much like a fibre optical element. By projecting light onto the flat end of the display, the Disney Research Pittsburgh team were able to create an image on the curved end that did not appear warped or stretched.

The researchers, who have named the new technology Papillon, were initially trying to create a way to make the eyes of interactive characters more robust and adaptable. However, especially as even in this basic form touch interactivity using an infrared camera is supported, this cost effective display method could be utilised as interactive displays in pro AV applications as the technology moves forward.

“Papillon is a technology that is scalable and flexible,” said Ivan Poupyrev, a senior research scientist who leads the interaction team at Disney Research Pittsburgh. “We envision it being used for building interactive toys, supplemental characters for videogames, robots or perhaps eventually even human prosthetic eyes.”

For a demonstration back in July, the Disney Research Pittsburgh team created three characters – Beep, Boop and their dog-like pet Iggy – each about the size of a softball. Though immobile, the characters had wildly expressive eyes. They responded to the gestures of human visitors and demonstrated a broad range of possible interactions, such as playing music together.