- Title: JAPAN: Virtual reality brings dinosaurs to life at Japan expo
- Date: 30th July 2009
- Summary: DINOSAUR MODEL
- Embargoed: 14th August 2009 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA4L3WWBNVGBOHZFCZN39687YVF
- Story Text: When Jurassic Park took dinosaurs from the realm of imagination and onto the big screen, movie-goers got an up-close look at the long extinct creatures.
But new technology from Japanese camera maker Canon unveiled recently at the Dinosaur Expo 2009 in Makuhari, Japan, brings people and dinosaurs closer than ever before.
The most popular attraction at the expo was a two-minute, "mixed-reality" presentation in which two life-size triceratops and a tyrannosaurus rex come to life and appear to walk around the exhibition hall.
The technology behind the simulation blends virtual reality and the real world.
When looking through the handheld viewer, you're not transported to a prehistoric world. Instead, you see the exhibition floor full of dinosaur models and skeletons.
But during the presentation, three-dimensional, computer-generated dinosaurs come to life and stomp about just five meters (15 feet) from your eyes. Each step is punctuated by a soundtrack of dramatic music and crashes of thunder.
The staff members of the expo say the system helps bring dinosaur skeletons and fossils to life in a way that was once limited to the imagination.
"This is a promising new technology that creates a 'mixed-reality.' Mixing reality and computer graphics can add to your imagination and helps you see things that do not exist," said Yoko Sato, an expo staffer who operated the presentation.
The "mixed-reality" technology allows virtual objects to appear within a real space, helping viewers to grasp the shape and scale of the virtual objects by comparing them with real objects.
Some young viewers were impressed by the sheer size of the dinosaurs.
"The T-Rex was so huge that I got overwhelmed," said Haruya Kagami, a 13-year-old junior high school student.
Six-year-old elementary school student Yutaro Kawaguchi agreed: "Oh my god, it was so huge," he said.
Other kids were also shocked by how close the dinosaurs appeared in the program.
"The dinosaur came so close and I was scared. I thought I was going to be eaten," said Erisa Toda, an 11-year-old elementary school student.
But unlike the characters in the blockbuster film, parents and children need not worry about getting too close to a T-Rex in this virtual Jurassic Park - no matter how real the creatures appear.
Canon says "mixed-reality" technology isn't just child's play and has great potential beyond entertainment. The company believes the manufacturing, medical and robotic industries would also benefit from bringing fantasy a little closer to reality.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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