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3D Mobile Internet in the future

 

Shamil Nizamov

All types of blogs, peer-2-peer audio and video communication via the Internet, e-commerce .... all of these no longer amaze anybody. The controversy around Web 2.0 or even Web 3.0 only confirms that the IT community is on the verge of changing from one Internet model to another, but nobody knows what kind of model is coming. Existing technologies, no matter how effective they are, are based on 10-20 years old ideas. Blogs for example were nothing more than personal diaries with a simplistic design, read only by people close to the writer. The latest features, including all kind of data aggregators like folksonomy, mashup, and widgets, ability to find pictures and, as Google promised, video - based on real content, not on descriptive textual tags - and an Internet browser being the only required application to work with an online virtual operating system [1] and on-line applications, perhaps that is all what we can expect in the nearest future.

At the same time, the recognizable trend of the Internet in recent years is a growing prevalence of video content, which is closely associated with technical progress, such as increasing bandwidth and continuously reducing cost of data storage. Real-time video broadcasting via the Internet, as did audio broadcasting some times ago, becomes less and less surprising, while the number of people who are using this opportunity is growing. Further development combines home-theatre and Internet systems, allowing users to order any movie on-line and in the future quite possibly develop a story by themselves.

Such evolutions of communication systems have had a direct impact on mobile systems. Mobile phones, smart phones, notebooks and game gadgets stepping on the heels of each other, and trying to wrest a piece of their rivals' or related systems' functionality. Continuing this trend it is quite possible to say that in the future all these devices will merge into one gadget, if not for one "but". Mobile devices show a particularly evident contradiction between usefulness and device dimensions. In order to be easier to use, the mobile device should as small as possible. As a result we are looking at a screen in the best case the size of a playing card and typing by means of 12 keys. A mobile phone is small. In turn, the notebook has a much bigger screen and a keyboard with 101 keys which is helpful to type blindly, but does not fit to the pocket. Engineers are trying to find a compromise solution creating pull-down, movable, twistable and other types of screens and keyboards, but they are not so convenient to use. Such contradictions may be formulated in the tradition of TRIZ [2] – "the system should be large enough to be easy to use, and should be sufficiently small to be easy to carry". At the first glance, this conflict cannot be resolved. Immediately, it comes to mind a screen folded as a newspaper that is being unfolded is either hard to read or hard to use, for example, a keyboard unfolded to roll over the knees or even sewed to trousers (there is even such patent [3]!) Hopefully, it is still possible to resolve such a conflict taking into account that the user needs an image itself, not just a means. That might lead to a small device that is projecting such an image to glasses' lens, or even directly to pupil. In this case the "screen" will became as large as a field of vision. Unlike a virtual reality helmet, such device is incredibly small in size. Furthermore, such compact devices already exist and are even available for the commercial use [4].

The same is happening with the keyboard. Readers can formulate the contradiction for the keyboard themselves. Instead of seeking the compromise between size and usability, it is possible to offer a crucial solution to the problem, namely a virtual keyboard. The device, worn on the wrist, tracks the movement of the fingers and the on-screen display shows where the fingers are now and what key is pressed or released. There are several solutions for that, the simplest one in the form of gloves [5], the other defined by the movement of muscles [6], or using the reflection of laser or sound beams [7]. It is important that hands in the case of the virtual keyboard remain free. For that reason, the mobile computer with a large screen and the keyboard with any number of keys, localizations and layouts may have the same size as mobile phones now. (If necessary, the central processing unit may be on a belt, in a bag, or even in a home wirelessly connected.)

For what other reason, except existing diversity of applications, could this individual mobile computer be used? Perhaps for 3-D broadcasting. Indeed, if our glasses' "monitor" can project separate images for each eye, it skyrockets the Internet to a new, hitherto unattainable level. 3-D movies, news, sport events and concerts – the user will be able to see them as if he directly participated in the event. Changes in software and hardware to provide this will be significant – new video codecs, further increase of bandwidth to provide the quality, editing and playback software.

As is often the case, many ideas seem to be science fiction and no one expect them to appear in the next hundred years. In the case of mobile devices, systems have not only come as ideas but have been already translated into actual devices, though they are not a single system yet.
Possibly, the negotiation between separate device vendors and steps towards collaboration would benefit users, and be a new impetus in the development of mobile devices and the Internet.

References:
1. for example YouOS (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YouOS )
2. official TRIZ page (
www.altshuller.ru )
3. US patent 7,176,895
4. for example Lumus pd-20 (
www.lumusvision.com )
5. US patent 6,885,316
6. for example Senseboard® Virtual Keyboard (
www.senseboard.com )
7.
US patent 6,097,374

 

 



 

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