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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Applications > Facetop -- transparent desktop collaboration

Facetop -- transparent desktop collaboration
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opti
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Jul 10, 2004, 12:10 AM
 
I'm surprised I haven't seen annything on the forum about this yet -- just saw it today on OS News: The Facetop Transparent Desktop. This at first struck me as a cutting-edge prototype computer interface idea, but it's working now, and was apparently quite easy to implement, thanks to OS X's Quartz rendering engine. It would be awesome to use this for programming, as the article suggests, any other sort of collaboration, or even presentations. I can't wait to try it out. I just have a couple of peripheral thoughts about this:

First of all, this is a strong couterpoint to all the stubborn Linux elites (see #debian on freenode for a good representation of this; I'm thinking of one person in particular whose name escapes me) who hate the idea of the GUI gaining capabilities beyond the point where Xfree86 is today, esp. wrt transparency and such. Here is an extremely useful technology that's made possible only by a completely transparent desktop. I hate the attitudes these people have -- they pretend that they can think of all possible ends that new graphics technologies will lead to, and conclude that it's nothing more useful than a bunch of worthless eye candy that will slow things down.

Second, software patents are bad enough, but when they come from a University that's really low. It seems entirely counter to the lofty rhetoric that education bureaucrats like to throw about that rather than open-sourcing this technology for the free use of everyone, the University is only interested in dealing with those willing to pony up the cash.
     
spauldingg
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Jul 10, 2004, 07:01 PM
 
this sounds really interesting, but I'm not sure exactly how it works. Sure would like the screenshots. And I also don't get the follow the fingers thing. Is it a touchscreen? If it is it's out of reach of most people, even proffesionals.
“The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.” -- William Hazlitt
     
opti  (op)
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Jul 10, 2004, 09:18 PM
 
Originally posted by spauldingg:
this sounds really interesting, but I'm not sure exactly how it works. Sure would like the screenshots. And I also don't get the follow the fingers thing. Is it a touchscreen? If it is it's out of reach of most people, even proffesionals.
There are a couple of pictures included in the article on the left-hand side of the article, under "Story Images," that give you a good idea of how this works. As for the thing about following finger movement -- as is shown in one of the pics, this is not touchscreen technology, but simply motion sensing. That part is nothing new -- try the games included with the $40 eyetoy for PlayStation 2, for instance. In the case of facetop, it looks like they have it only tracking a bright red for finger controls, otherwise facial movement and the like would make your desktop go crazy. Once you've got live video going to the computer, this is all a matter of proper software programming, not hardware.
     
Horsepoo!!!
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Jul 10, 2004, 10:41 PM
 
AppleInsider's Kickaha was part of this project.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...threadid=41910
     
darrick
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Jul 10, 2004, 10:42 PM
 
i noticed this today, too. there are images with this blog entry: technology trends
     
Gee4orce
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Jul 12, 2004, 03:27 AM
 
Those screen shots look fake to me. How can the camera correctly capture what the guy on the 'other side' of the screen is pointing at, when the camera is mounted on top of the screen ? It would have to be behind the screen. For example, he is pointing straight towards the viewer, touching something on screen, but in reality he would not actually be pointing down the lense of the camera.

Confused
     
Krypton
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Jul 12, 2004, 05:08 AM
 
Originally posted by Gee4orce:
Those screen shots look fake to me. How can the camera correctly capture what the guy on the 'other side' of the screen is pointing at, when the camera is mounted on top of the screen ? It would have to be behind the screen. For example, he is pointing straight towards the viewer, touching something on screen, but in reality he would not actually be pointing down the lense of the camera.

Confused
Their images were reflected on the screen, they weren't behind the screen.
     
CKr
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Jul 12, 2004, 10:31 PM
 
A small FAQ of sorts that Jason Smith put up. He is one of the people directly involved with the project.

There are also more links to media coverage at the bottom of that page.

As soon as I read about this it reminded me of Minority Report and how Tom Cruise is manipulating objects on the screen based on hand and finger gestures.
     
Synotic
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Jul 13, 2004, 02:52 AM
 
Originally posted by spauldingg:
this sounds really interesting, but I'm not sure exactly how it works. Sure would like the screenshots. And I also don't get the follow the fingers thing. Is it a touchscreen? If it is it's out of reach of most people, even proffesionals.
I would read the AppleInsider thread below because it's really quite cool that a forum regular co-developed the technology. Basically you connect an iSight to a display and the rest is all software based. It works like eyetoy. It's not surprising that for now it's an all Mac solution

Also, I too am confused about the whole pointing at the screen... shows you pointing at the screen idea. I realize that it's reflecting your image like a mirror but a mirror's "lens" so to speak is everywhere. The lens at the top of the monitor wouldn't be able to even see the finger that close to the monitor. Any ideas? Maybe you simply don't hold your finger that close to the monitor so that it's within the camera's depth of field...

And from what I read in the thread, the university took rights to the technology after the professory + student developed the technology because it was done in the university. Plus I don't see why they should make the software they singularly developed open source. They conceived it, they wrote all the software, they should protect their idea.
     
spauldingg
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Jul 13, 2004, 07:57 AM
 
From the wired article

"totts said the university holds patents on the technology and will likely license it to software publishers. He said a couple of firms have already expressed interest in incorporating it into their products, but declined to say who."

Moki, is that you?
“The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.” -- William Hazlitt
     
Synotic
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Jul 13, 2004, 12:07 PM
 
Originally posted by spauldingg:
From the wired article

"totts said the university holds patents on the technology and will likely license it to software publishers. He said a couple of firms have already expressed interest in incorporating it into their products, but declined to say who."

Moki, is that you?
What use would he have with it?
     
spauldingg
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Jul 13, 2004, 12:22 PM
 
Don't really know, just seems like SnapzPro could archive the conference or something. Just seems like a good fit. That and games could have a lot of fun with this.
“The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.” -- William Hazlitt
     
   
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