A device called CAPTIVE has been developed by the researchers at North Carolina State University for manipulating 3D virtual objects in a computer program. It is an inexpensive, user-friendly controller offering 6 degrees of freedom. It facilitates the users to more quickly manipulate objects than current technologies. It has applications in design tools, medical diagnosis and video gaming.
It uses only three elements viz., a webcam which is present in most laptops and smartphones, custom software, and a simple plastic cube.
At each corner, the plastic cube which has differently colored balls, resembling a Tinkertoy, is created using a 3-D printer. When a user manipulates the cube, the webcam captures the image. Then, the video recognition software detects the cube’s movements in three dimensions by following the way each colored ball moves with respect to others.
The researchers carried out a set of standard experiments to test CAPTIVE’s efficiency, and discovered that it allows users to rotate objects in 3D about twice faster than that of competing technologies.
"Basically, there's no latency; no detectable lag time between what the user is doing and what they see on screen," said a researcher.