For the first time the leaders of the GS1 EPCglobal Board of Governors met at ETH Zurich for discussing future directions of RFID and barcode technologies. As part of this meeting, we organized a technology day which featured current develops of our labs associated companies and groups (find presentations and detailed agenda here).
In addition to our own work we could also invite renown keynote speakers from ETH Zurich.
Prof. Dr. Bertram Batlogg talked about recent developments of nano-technology and shared some insights about emerging display technologies.
As part of this program we had also the chance to meet Prof. Dr. Raffaello D’Andrea who motivated his research on controlling robots by sensors by the example of the steam engine controlled by a speed limiter.
Raffaello showed the tremendous developments regarding miniaturization when he compared their most recent quadrocopter with the table-sized model of a decade ago.
However, during his robot air-show the title of his talk "Controlling the artificial" become even clearer: Raefaello showed his trust into his technologies when he took a seat in his Flying Machine Arena and his students started the show, sometimes closely above his head.
In the first demo our visitors could control the helicopter with a stick by gestures. The system ensured that the helicopters did not collide with the walls or crash down because of too hectic movements. Other demos showed the ability of balancing a standing stick on the helicopter, coordinated movements of groups, kinect gesture control and the famous ball juggling (see here). Thus, this demonstration made me confident about getting the next doener delivered by drone pretty soon....
Finally, Prof. Dr. Markus Gross talked about how to visually reproduce the real-world based on special effects in several animation movies. He reported about the ability of 3D-scanning of still faces and reproducing movements with 7 artificial muscles in contrast to the natural 35 muscles. His prophecy was that in about a five year's time horizon simulated face-movements would be indistinguishable from the real. Thus, Holywood stars would already start protecting the rights on the visual appearance of their bodies, as movements can be done by the computers later rather easily and more cost-efficient.
In the second part of his talk Prof. Gross talked about humanoid robots that would mimic actors in amusements parks. Based on 3D scans and 3D printing faces can be modeled quickly. As a commercialization of this technology he showed customized barbie puppets carrying faces of the corresponding children. Technological progress sometimes can be fascinating and scary...