Author Archives: Mariia Kulik

Hang out with your favourite Disney characters with Disney’s “Magic bench”

The “Magic Bench” designed by Disney gives a unique opportunity to sit next to an animated character from our childhood. Isn’t it cool?

The actual interaction with animated characters is happening in the 3D dimension and people can feel they are sitting with them. The bench can sense the person’s presence and offers different options how the communication will look like.

Users are able to see themselves on a video screen that is located in front of them, and any cartoon character can appear. The scene is captured by an RGB camera, An RGB camera delivers the three basic color components (red, green, and blue) on three different wires. This type of camera often uses three independent CCD sensors to acquire the three color signals. RGB cameras are used for very accurate color image acquisitions, and a Microsoft Kinect. The room is designed in three dimensions on the video screen, allowing the users to move behind and in front of the characters.
For example, a movie video shows an elephant that goes and sits on a bench.
The bench system uses haptic feedback to experience the whole thing. So for instance, if the elephant makes a sound, the bench will start to vibrate.

Animated animals also can even react if people will try to touch them. Have you ever seen the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” cartoon? Well, that will look pretty much the same. “The bench itself plays a critical role,” says Moshe Mahler, a principal digital artist at Disney Research. “Not only does it contain haptic actuators, but it constrains several issues for us in an elegant way. We know the location and the number of participants and can infer their gaze. It creates a stage with a foreground and a background, with the seated participants in the middle ground. It even serves as a controller; the mixed reality experience doesn’t begin until someone sits down and different formations of people seated create different types of experiences.”
Disney Researchers presented the Magic Bench at SIGGRAPH 2017, an annual conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques, that was held in Los Angeles on July 30-August 3.




Composing music is possible now by using our mind

Did you ever want to write a melody using your mind? Now it is possible. Thanks to the brain-computer interface (BCI) device and researchers from Austria a lot of people with limited physical abilities can compose music with their thoughts.
The researchers from the Graz University of Technology and the University of Graz in Austria improved the device that simulates brain impulses. In fact, they accomplished the “P300 event-related potential,” the electrical brain signal, to make the device work. Interestingly, professional musicians already approved it and achieved excellent results when using the program.

BCI would be easy to use, and the primary goal is to help physically disabled people. This technology differs from the other interfaces that let you play music with your thoughts. For example, it could be used to select a specific type of musical note — a whole note or quarter note, to write a musical score.

The P300 event-related potential makes the BCI work so accurate. The signal, which is associated with focusing attention, can be detected by a type of non-invasive headgear fitted with electrodes called an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap. It sends these signals to an amplifier, which allows a computer to read the user’s brainwaves. Here is an example:

During the experiment, nonprofessional and professional musicians learned how to use the BCI, and they were given tasks: copy-spelling words, copy-composing a melody, and then composing their melody. Nonprofessionals completed the copy-spelling task with 88.2 percent accuracy, while a professional composer achieved 100 percent accuracy. The team’s experiments proved that a P300-based BCI device works for composing the music.


“The results of the BCI compositions can be heard. And what is more important: the test persons enjoyed it. After a short training session, all of them could start composing and seeing their melodies on the score and then play them. The very positive results of the study with bodily healthy test persons are the first step in a possible expansion of the BCI composition to patients,”  – stated Müller-Putz, head of the Institute of Neural Engineering at the Graz University of Technology in Austria.

The fact that the users composed their own melodies prove that the experiment was successful.

Here is a short interesting film that demonstrates the creating of a music track using the mind: