Monday, 31 Oct, 2011 Technology

Latest Invention: Cylindrical Mirror Display for the iPad Brings Mirror Anamorphosis to 21st Century


A group of researchers from the Ochanomizu Women's University (OWU)in Japan has come up with a new approach that involves a very old trick used by artists centuries ago to deliver "tangible" depth to the 2D display of the iPad.

It is worth mentioning that back in 16th century painters came up with a technique called mirror anamorphosis that allowed carefully distorted 2D pictures to be observed in correct proportion from sharp angles or with the help of mirrors in the shape of a cone or cylinder. One of the most renowned examples is the portrait The Ambassadors, created by Hans Holbein in 1533 in which a grey spot found at the bottom of the painting turns into a human skull when viewed from a certain angle.

Researcher Chihiro Suga, one of the members of the Japanese team, said that they created an interactive system dubbed Anamorphicons after noticing that anamorphosis "can be used to project data onto a 3D object by placing that 3D object on 2D data."

What differentiates the technology developed by the Japanese researchers from ordinary mirror anamorphosis is that when the user rotates the mirror on the iPad, objects that are reflected on the device rotate as well.

The images distorted by anamorphosis can be produces by converting them to polar coordinates with the help of special image processing software.

Watch the video below to see the technology in action.

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