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I’ve previously identified Nirav Patel’s homebrew spherical display unit, which I first covered in September 2011, as the coolest thing I wrote about that entire year, and the project remains among my all-time faves from the more than 2,200 posts I’ve written for MAKE.  It elegantly combines open custom code, a “pico” projector unit, and a hardware-store lamp globe to create a beautiful, functional device you can make, yourself, at a fraction of the cost of the few analogous commercial systems available.

Now, Nirav and pal Donnie have upped the ante by adding interactivity to the “snow globe” in the form of a spherical controller they call “adjacent reality tracker.”  The controller is a self-contained, battery operated, 3D-printed sphere that detects movement using an inertial measurement unit and communicates with the projection software wirelessly via Bluetooth.  

The result?  Images on the display rotate in synch with physical movements of the controller. Bonus: Turning the controller upside-down activates a “time mode” which replaces spatial rotation with image cycling so that, for instance, a series of pictures showing continental drift over the course of geological history can be scrolled forward or backward at will.  [Thanks. Nirav!]

Snow Globe and the Adjacent Reality Tracker

Nirav and Donnie will have Snow Globe and Adjacent Reality Tracker at MFBA12 on the 19th and 20th of this month.   Look for their booth in Fiesta Hall.

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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