Bringing Toys To Life at CES 2011: Intel Labs OASIS

Central Hall Panorama @CES 2011 (c) 2011 Jeffrey W. Sass - Taken with Sony NEX-5

???I am back from the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with sore feet, weary eyes and more than a few gigabytes of images and videos of some cool (and unusual) technology and gadgets.  I look forward to sharing a lot of that content with you here on Dad-O-Matic, and will try to focus on the stuff that you will most likely be able to benefit from or be interested in as parents.

Back To The Future

One of the things that makes the annual pilgrimage to CES exciting is the opportunity to look into the crystal ball and see a bit of the future, as many companies display prototypes and experimental products that are not available today, but may be introduced at some time in the not so distant future.  These are the things that often spark “WOW” moments and geekasmic pangs of “I want one!”  They also often spark the imagination, as you can really see how fast advances in consumer oriented computing and technology are moving us toward a tech enhanced lifestyle that was once only imagined in Science Fiction.  I have no doubt that our kids and grand-kids will be taking for granted the kind of technology infused world we gawked at in movies like BLADE RUNNER, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, MINORITY REPORT and many others.

Sponsors Of Tomorrow

While known best for its microprocessor chips, because of the deep impact those chips have on our lives by being inside and powering so many products we use and will use, Intel considers itself the “Sponsors Of Tomorrow” (and they were also the sponsor of my trip to CES this year).   The company invests heavily in Research and Development and one of the technologies that impressed and awed me the most was on display at the Intel CES booth.  It was a demonstration of the OASIS Perceptive Home project from Intel Labs.

Bringing Toys (and other objects) To Life

Leveraging the massive processing power of the latest microchips, along with 3D Image detection, micro projection, and a host of other technologies, the OASIS project (OASIS stands for Object Aware Situated Interactive System) creates an instant interactive augmented reality experience around common household items.  In the video below I took of the CES booth demo, you can see the OASIS system turning simple LEGO toys on a table top into fully animated, interactive play environments.   A small overhead unit that combines “Kinect-like” cameras, as well as color projectors and speakers, the OASIS can “recognize” objects and then react based on pre-determined logic and rules.  The imagined applications of this technology are endless, from finding recipes or building a shopping list by simply placing items on the kitchen counter, to creating custom interactive play surfaces based on the specific toys your child may be playing with, and as many other uses as a creative mind can imagine.

Playing With Fire The Safe Way

In the video below you will see how OASIS can make a LEGO dragon breathe animated fire… but not to worry, all it takes is a LEGO fire truck to come to the rescue and hose down the dragon caused damage.  I can remember breaking my back crawling around the floor to pick up the pieces of toy railroad tracks, strewn about after my sons would “play.”  If I only had an OASIS back then, my aspiring young Engineers could have created their own virtual railroad system by simply dragging their fingers along the dining room table.  Watch the video below and you will see what I mean.

What do you think? Can you imagine uses for Intel’s OASIS technology in your home? How would you like to see this technology “productized” for your use?  Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments, and I look forward to sharing more cool stuff and “Dadgets” from CES in upcoming posts.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.??

DISCLOSURES: I am part of the “Intel Advisor” program and am compensated and/or receive other value from Intel to attend events on their behalf, including the 2011 CES show. I was also given a camera by Sony to use to take photographs at CES.

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  • Matt Sternberg

    Very informative and entertaining, as usual, Jeff. Looks totally cool. However, I think I’d rather have all of that ‘imagining’ going on in my daughters mind, rather than a processor. Your kids connected the train tracks and ‘saw’ the fire from the dragon and the water from the fire truck in their imaginations. With a chip doing it for them what do they have to do besides drag their fingers?

    I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
    – Albert Einstein

  • http://www.jeffreysass.com Jeff Sass

    Thanks Matt (especially for the Einstein quote!). I hear ya, but seeing it in action I am pretty sure there is the opportunity to spark even more imagination as the world around the objects comes to life. It has the potential to take imagination to another level. Still plenty of room for creativity on the part of our kids, especially if you consider tools that might let the kids decide what happens around their objects. Perhaps kids will be able to decide whether a dragon breathes fire or blows bubbles. The possibilities are truly endless… ;-)

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