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The World's Largest Touchscreen

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-seen-bigger dept.

The Internet 53

An anonymous reader writes "The University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, has converted a 3D theater into the world's largest touchscreen, used for teaching mathematics and computer science students interactivity. The screen has a curvature of 135 degrees and is transparent."

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53 comments

I have the world's largest tactile joystick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200818)

Come and play with it!

Re:I have the world's largest tactile joystick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200934)

Really? My 2 nm tactile joystick is 4 times the length of yours.

Apples product line (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200892)

Ipod
Ipad
Imat
now here comes the Iwall

Re:Apples product line (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202030)

When you purchase the iWall, you also indicate when you are available for gene-therapy, to give you GorillaArms(tm), extra long arms so you can easily reach the entire surface of the iWall.

Awesome (0)

Zsub (1365549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200914)

Go Groningen! Best city in the Netherlands! Er gaat niets boven Groningen! (There is nothing better than (litt. above, latt/long-joke combined with language pun) Groningen!)

Re:Awesome (2)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201038)

Every time I see Dutch in writing I assume someone is speaking Klingon.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201888)

It is an unusual language, and probably contains more words with double-vowels than any other. Playing scrabble in Dutch with an English set leads to running out of A tiles very quickly.

It's very softly spoken though, much softer on the ears than German.

Re:Awesome (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202786)

I've often wondered if the transition from Dutch to English is easier than from other languages. It seems that the Dutch tend to speak English as well as, and sometimes better than English-speaking natives.

Re:Awesome (1)

sciencewatcher (1699186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205096)

There is no reason to assume a closer tie between English and Dutch than any of the other languages spoken in Western Europe. But the small country that has always thrived on international business has a strong orientation on foreign languages. Most high school students have to learn four modern languages (Dutch, English, German and French or Spanish) and optionally two ancient languages (Latin and Greek). With a foreign language you also get a deeper insight in other cultures, giving you a better perspective on business deals.

Re:Awesome (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35207844)

I've often wondered if the transition from Dutch to English is easier than from other languages. It seems that the Dutch tend to speak English as well as, and sometimes better than English-speaking natives.

I think it's more that being able to speak only Dutch is not terribly useful in the modern world, so you more or less have to learn some other languages, and English is the most widely spoken so you'd be silly not to go for that. The same applies to Scandinavian countries.

Also, most European education systems sensibly start teaching languages from an early age (unlike here in the UK where it's all a bit half-hearted).

Incidentally, even Dutch speakers who are fluent in English have a noticeable accent, which is pleasant but distinctive, whereas Scandinavian speakers can be indistinguishable from native speakers. This is because the Norwegian language (in particular) is very close to English, plus of course we had Vikings coming over here and taking our jobs and our women a thousand years ago.

Re:Awesome (1)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205406)

Go Groningen! Best city in the Netherlands! Er gaat niets boven Groningen! (There is nothing better than (litt. above, latt/long-joke combined with language pun) Groningen!)

But what is that in Gronings?

Re:Awesome (1)

Zsub (1365549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35206998)

I wouldn't know, but _probably_ something like "d'r goat niks boo'm Grunn" although that would be the city dialect which in the eyes of the people from the province has nothing to do with Gronings. Then again, there are a lot of different local variations, so I'm not even sure Gronings as such even exists :-P

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35207672)

'D'r *gait* niks boven Grunnen'
and this is the same for Westerkwartiers, Oldambts, Hoogelands, Veenkoloniaals and of course Stadjers.
And there is an official spelling, (http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemon_Reker)

Either way,
Grunnegs is awesome!!

Re:Awesome (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35207196)

De boot naar Schiermonnikoog gaat boven Groningen.
translated: The boat to Schiermonnikoog (an island, just above Groningen) goes above Groningen. That's referring to the other way to translate "Er gaat niets boven Groningen!": "Nothing goes above Groningen."

Distraction? (2)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200924)

Will a giant touch screen computer actually teach or be more of a distraction? I have a hard time believing that one could actually increase mathematical skills by learning on the worlds largest iPod Touch. Something about sitting down with a pencil and paper and working out math problems still seems to be the best way to learn. Maybe I'm just too old school.

Re:Distraction? (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200946)

This just in: Some people may learn better using different methods than yourself.

Re:Distraction? (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201198)

This just in, Technology is over-hyped in education.

I'm in education, and I see technology being employed simply for technology's sake.

Re:Distraction? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201402)

Even when I was in school, that was true. We wasted soooo much time sitting in front of computers, for no other reason then the school bought them. We could have learned the same material 10x faster with an old-fashioned book (once called a "reader").

Re:Distraction? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201910)

Useful things can frequently be used in ways that are not useful at all. Technology is not over-hyped in education. After all, a pencil is certainly a piece of technology. As are the lights, heating system, and clocks. Can computers be useful? Of course they can. Just as a pencil can. Will they help education if they are used poorly? Of course not. Just as pencil that is used strictly for playing tic-tac-toe will not help in education.

Re:Distraction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35217332)

IAAIE, and I am curious if you are including ELMO's [elmousa.com] replacing old school overhead projectors and/or C.O.W.'s [k12tn.net] replacing computer labs when you speak of "technology being employed simply for technology's sake."

Maybe you were referring to schools supplementing their overcrowded math classes by using http://www.khanacademy.org/ [khanacademy.org] ?

Either way, I'm sure you wouldn't think to include SpEd in your comment, so I won't address that one.

Re:Distraction? (2)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201310)

I agree, but a clearer question would be : will the cost of setting up a giant touch screen to teach a few students provide a return on investment? The only way I can see this occurring is if the CS students collectively built the device for future students. This provides revenues from a group of students, teaches these students about developing such technology, provides an alternative learning style for future students, and gives the University free publicity. The only downside I see to this project is if the students become accustomed to being tailored to to reach their learning potential, their going to be pretty disappointed to enter a workforce that doesn't care that you learn differently, just use the tools the company has or draw a clear line to how giving you the tools you're used to learning on increases my revenue or reduces my cost more than the cost of implementing such tools. This is cool tech, but the only valuable people to a business is the ones who worked to put the damn thing together, since they can be used for a similar marketing stunt.

Re:Distraction? (2)

ahecht (567934) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201292)

If you go to the source at http://www.rug.nl/cit/hpcv/nieuws/touchscreen1 [www.rug.nl] you will see that it wasn't created for teaching math at all (the blogspam linked from the story seems to have made that up). According to RUG: "the initial goal was to facilitate the scientists studying Geographic Information Systems and a research group that studies interaction methods for touch screens" GIS is a perfect application for this technology.

Re:Distraction? (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201486)

I only looked at the article link given. GIS does seem like a useful application, but where are the GIS students going to find a giant touch screen to actually use it for geographic information outside of academia? The research group for touchscreen interaction is the gold in this project. I can use the data they find for commercial purposes. A giant Math book seemed pointless though. Thanks for clarification.

Why? (2, Insightful)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200952)

I guess for computer science it can serve as an inspirational piece. To say, Hey this is why computers are awesome and here's what you could be doing with them.

For math though, you really need a pencil, some paper, the book and lots of time to get things wrong before you get them right. Calculation stuff for calculus, sure use the screen to create interactive bounds on integrals or what not. For analysis? topology? proofs? Get them some time to study and get them to ask lots of questions.

In summary, cool screen... but unnecessary.

Re:Why? (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200988)

Well, there is no way it would get a greenlight if they used it for entertainment purposes. They had to make it for educational purposes. I guess the closes thing for teaching with this would be those subjects

Re:Why? (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201018)

For math though, you really need a pencil, some paper, the book and lots of time to get things wrong before you get them right.

Maybe for you that works best, but why force that on other people who may learn better using this method?

Re:Why? (2)

Unoriginal_Nickname (1248894) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201320)

Because once you get past the trivial cases (e.g. isomorphisms with geometries over finite-dimensional vector spaces) it isn't even possible to create a visualization, let alone one which is useful as a teaching aid.

Re:Why? (1)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205044)

Maybe for lower division, as I stated in my post, this would be fine. After you get past all that stuff though, math takes on a new face. You are no longer tasked with "visualizing" the problem and then basing limits on that. The limits are arbitrary, the space non-Euclidean, and the work abstract. Visualizations here need only be minimal. A scrawled graph on a chalk board is MORE than enough to explain the concept visually. But if they want to play on the screen that's ok too.

Re:Why? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35207874)

For math though, you really need a pencil, some paper, the book and lots of time to get things wrong before you get them right.

Maybe for you that works best, but why force that on other people who may learn better using this method?

You sound like my kids who insist that they learn better with music playing loudly and a plentiful supply of snacks. My response is to unplug their fucking CD player, eat their crisps and chocolates, and find some extra hard spellings for them to learn. You never know when you might want to drop "antidisestablishmentarianism" into a conversation in the playground.

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

ahecht (567934) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201274)

If you go to the source at http://www.rug.nl/cit/hpcv/nieuws/touchscreen1 [www.rug.nl] you will see that it wasn't created for teaching math at all (the blogspam linked from the story seems to have made that up). According to RUG: "the initial goal was to facilitate the scientists studying Geographic Information Systems and a research group that studies interaction methods for touch screens"

Re:Why? (1)

kubernet3s (1954672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203146)

I don't think the article was saying "math students and computer science students," I think it was saying "math and computer science students." In many universities, the two are a single major, with the degree of specialization in either field being left up to the individual student, who remains a "mathematics/computer science" students. Yes, the math and comp sci curricula are less intensive at these schools, but it's a perfectly valid way of categorizing the discipline, despite the objections of mathematicians or computer scientists who still get all prickly about having their offices in the same building. A class which may have no value on its own to a pure mathematician (i.e., an introductory programming or web development class) might still be offered as a "mat/compsci" section.

Re:Why? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202032)

Geophysicists and seismic interpreters sometimes use large screens like these to collaborate on data analysis, even making use of stereo 3D at times. Being able to slice and recolor data, look at stuff from different angles, etc in real time increases accuracy and greatly speeds up things. I've seen such a "3d theater" used for interpretation of seismic data; the first time it was used they more than doubly recouped the (considerable) expense of building it, just in saved workhours of some very expensive experts.

I can imagine that the ability to move the data around more easily (rather than have some facilitator do it), and being able to "break out" and work on more than one data view at the same time will speed things up even further.

Touchscreen envy (2)

Tx (96709) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200956)

My 11.6" tablet suddenly seems a bit undersized. Still, I reckon it will come into it's own when I have to get up and take it home with me ;).

Re:Touchscreen envy (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201132)

You know those three guys are only 25mm tall? Freak lab experiment gone wrong, or something.

Would leave it blank if I could... (2)

sortadan (786274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201180)

How can you have a "World's Largest" article without ever actually writing down the size of the thing anywhere?!?!?!!?!?

original story is at... (1)

illusionm (1996200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201324)

The original story is at http://www.rug.nl/cit/hpcv/nieuws/touchscreen1 [www.rug.nl] and there are plenty of details in the text belonging to the youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlWFtF06RFo&hd=1 [youtube.com] .
In the original story there is no claim for the world largest, but perhaps it is the worlds largest curved screen. How knows.
It is not used for teaching math, but if a professor comes along to give it a try he/she is welcome to do so. It is used by students studying interaction methods as the best method for interaction will change with a big screen. It is also used for teaching students about Geographic Information Systems. For that application the resolution kind of matters.
Note that we only added touch detection to an existing 3D screen and we did so for very little money ( $2500).

Can it do anything useful? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202098)

Don't get me wrong, I find it very cool, but did you notice that the video did not demonstrate a single use case with any actual usefulness?

Apps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202306)

Does it play Angry Birds?

Will be used in CSI (1)

kryliss (72493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202350)

Next to be seen as yet another technologically, over hyped, computer "thingie" that you'll see on CSI which can zoom into a reflected image off of a button, reflecting off of a car mirror as seen from a satellite image that just so happened to be taking the picture at just the exact moment in time that the murder was taking place.

We all know it's only a matter of time... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203434)

...until this whole concept winds up getting wet and sticky. I want the raincoat concession at that theatre.

More details since the linked article is lacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203642)

The display is 4900 x 1700 pixels and uses six high-speed Optitrack cameras to do the motion tracking. There are more technical details in this PCWorld article :

http://www.pcworld.com/article/219174/massive_3d_touchscreen_puts_your_monitor_to_shame.html

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