The first permanent FLUX Innovation Lounge event has launched – and PCR was there to check out the future tech on show.
First launched as a one-day concept event last year, FLUX has since become a permanent fixture at the Aldgate offices of Engage Production, which hosts the event.
The fixture is designed to showcase the potential of future tech to businesses, in the hope that the enterprise and technology industries will begin to work together to accelerate their mutual growth and evolution.
The new FLUX Lounge was launched with an open day on March 26th – 27th, with subsequent events set to occur every three months. Businesses interested in getting hands-on with the futuristic products can also book visits by appointment.
Let’s take a look at some of the technology currently being exhibited by the lounge:
CIMAGINE AUGMENTED REALITY
This app allows users to visualise furniture and appliances in their home before purchasing, to ensure that products look right and fit.
The app uses 3D depth-perception to ‘scan’ a room, which can then be overlaid on screen with models of furniture. Examples included links on the websites of Walmart and Littlewoods, which directly allow users to see specific objects in their room.
Objects can be dragged around, rotated and replaced in the room, with true-to-life scale remaining consistent. The app also allows users to walk around the room to view the object from a different angle, without needing to rescan.
MASTER OF PIE INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
Utilising the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) helmet, this demonstration showcased the use of VR as a way to engage clients.
The wearer is equipped with the Rift and a set of headphones. The demo places the user underwater, with the Rift framed as if it were a set of SCUBA goggles.
Through the headphones, a narrator speaking over a crackling radio connection advises the player to look around the underwater world – with the Rift’s motion tracking giving a realistic ability to look anywhere.
Schools of fish drift by, as well as some larger creatures – a manta ray is pointed out by the guide.
Suddenly, the guide directs the player’s attention to a large radar reading. The player turns to find a gaping shark bearing down on them. The reaction to physically duck and flinch is unavoidable.
It’s an effective demonstration of the use of virtual reality to connect with consumers – and although not every firm will place their clients in such a harrowing position, it highlights the growing influence and importance of VR in the modern world (highlighted further by Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus Rift maker Oculus VR on the opening day of the FLUX lounge).
IMAKR 3D PRINTING
Using a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer, IMakr’s stand quietly produced a range of 3D printed shapes – with the implication being the utilisation of the technology by businesses to provide unique and memorable brand merchandise.
The printer took only five minutes to 3D-print the logo of host Engage Production, with a range of more complex objects such as mugs, vases and models also shown off.
With 3D printing becoming cheaper, easier and faster as the technology profilerates, the stand was a clear demonstration of the increasing use of futuristic tech by firms to create unique advertising opportunities.
XEROX SMART TAGS
Combining the smart touchscreens and smart wall also exhibited at the event, these smart tags were said to be designed for use by clients in a corporate settings.
The RFID blocks can be used to bring up a list of files and information when placed on a surface, and can also be used to save interesting data by holding them over an open file, image or video – which can then be emailed directly to the owner of the tag.
FASHION3D VIRTUAL CHANGING ROOM
Said to already be in use in the fashion markets of Abu Dhabi, this novel booth uses a Kinect camera to overlay clothes on top of a live image of the user.
Outfits include a range of clothes from novelty costumes to Diesel-branded threads, and scale to match the user’s body size and shape.
The booth can then be used to judge how a customer would look in an outfit before searching it out, or could be used to directly purchase the clothes from an online store – with a home version of the technology said to be envisioned for the future.
MULTITOUCH SMART WALL
The largest device displayed in the lounge, the smart digital wall from MultiTouch Ltd allowed users to play games, browse files, view media and use the internet on a massive scale.
The technology was also shown embedded in a coffee table, and worked in unision with Xerox’s smart tags to provide a unique way of display information on a big scale.
A range of projection-driven technologies were present, including 7th Sense’s projection mapping, which overlays a 3D model with projected textures and images to give the impression of a dynamically changing object.
Another stand demonstrated the combined use of real-life products with holographic visuals. The box contained a pair of Nike trainers, with the front-facing screen displaying changing details and advertising, including videos, logos, information and selective framing of the real-life product.
Realtime Vision’s digital book also utilised projected images. A blank book was overlaid with the pages of a virtual magazine, and users could swipe their hands to move through the pages, much like flipping through a real-life mag. Unlike a static paper publication, however, the book could contain videos, dynamic text and other digital content.
A holographic unit also used projection, in order to create a 3D-like virtual object which could be viewed from any angle, much like a real item.