Technology

Entertainment: Mark Billinghurst

Discover Magazine Innovation Awards

By Joseph DAgneseJul 1, 2001 12:00 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

2001 Awards IndexEditors' choiceElectronicsTransportationHealthEntertainment AerospaceCommunicationsEnvironmentFinalistsThe Christopher Columbus Foundation Award

ENTERTAINMENT

MARK BILLINGHURST

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

THE MAGICBOOK

Photograph by Brad Hines

Fond of those nifty virtual reality helmets? Well, get over it. Engineers now regard helmets, visors, and anything else that cuts you off from the rest of the world as old hat. They want you to be able to toggle effortlessly between reality and virtual reality. The MagicBook, a virtual pop-up volume conceived by Mark Billinghurst and his collaborators in Japan, Hirokazu Kato and Ivan Poupyrev, can be enjoyed the time-honored way: flipping pages, reading words, checking out the pics. But it offers another playful option. As the reader, you are invited to interact with characters and objects in the book.

In one of the team's tales, a fearsome ninja steals a princess's hand mirror. She entreats a noble samurai to recover it. Now the twist: If you gaze at the page using a wand fitted with glasses, a camera, and a control button, the computer running this show interprets each illustration. When you look at the mirror, the machine retrieves a 3-D image from its archive, and lo, the maiden's looking glass appears to bob atop the page. Turn your head, and you can view the object from any angle. Hit that button, and you can tramp through a scene with the characters. "Kids up to high school age love it," says Billinghurst, a 34-year-old doctoral student in human interface technology.

So will the rest of us, who are now one step closer to manipulating virtual objects in real space. A surgical resident could, for example, beam a virtual body into a virtual operating room in order to practice a coronary bypass. The MagicBook is a portal to the future, one Billinghurst finds strangely appropriate; after all, he says, "books were the first virtual reality."

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.