Microsoft aims to "follow that cab!"

17 August 2005

Roger Rabbit's taxiResearchers at Microsoft have clearly had an epiphany, probably while watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
According to a new US patent application, spotted by New Scientist, the company aims to borrow the movie’s visual amalgamation of real life and cartoon imagery and to mix it with head-up displays, TomTom-style GPS navigation, and Human PacMan.
The latter might require a bit of explanation...
Human PacManHuman PacMan, as developed by boffins at the University of Singapore, is a real-world, 3D version of the old arcade game. In the arcades, PacMan was a hungry little yellow disk confined to a 2D maze. In Human PacMan, people take the place of the little yellow guy, donning computerised goggles that superimpose virtual objects, rewards and dangers onto their view of the real world.
In Microsoft’s innovation, drivers needing navigation assistance will not have to follow audio instructions, or glance at an animated map on the dashboard. Instead, a ghostly, computer-generated car will be superimposed on the driver’s view of the real road ahead. To get to the right destination, the driver simply follows the animated car.
To distinguish the illusory vehicle from real cars, the patent suggests that the image should be user selectable so that it might stand out. So, for example, a driver could choose to follow a yellow taxi when in London, or a black cab in New York.

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