If there's one technology you'll be hearing a lot more about in the coming years, it's 3-D printing. You may have heard about this new 3-D-printed car, 3-D-printed drugs that the Food and Drug Administration has approved, and even a 3-D-printed instrument.
You can also use 3-D virtually, with computer graphics programs, so you can better visualize things like a home under construction. But have you heard about 3-D light?
If you've heard about the light sculptures that Pablo Picasso did for Life magazine in the 1940s, you get the idea. Picasso was photographed swirling a light around. The results were pretty cool images of Picasso standing in front of swirls of light.
Now, there's smartphone app in beta test called Air Pencil that you might soon be able to use, to create 3-D images. It's from ad agency Adtile, which specializes in creating ads for mobile devices, like LG smartphones.
For those ads, the company created software that uses mobile devices' accelerometers, magnetometers and gyroscopes to understand a smartphone's position in a three-dimensional world.
Adtile says the algorithms it uses can be used to create 3-D images in light. It can understand three dimensions without a camera can detect depth. (See video next page.)
Air Pencil works with your smartphone's light. Spin that light around in 3-D movements, and suddenly that 3-D image of light appears on your smartphone.
Right now, the Air Pencil is being used mostly to create art, as Adtile works out its bugs. You can draw your name in space, for instance. Or, do what Picasso did, and create 3-D art.
In time, Adtile may use it for some of its mobile advertising, or license it for developers to create other 3-D apps. Or, it's possible Air Pencil can be used to create images that can be printed out on 3-D printers.
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