Next-Gen Rubik’s Cube? Awesome 5-Screen 3D Display

It seems that, whether we like it or not, 3D TV is the next big thing. But TVs only let you see an object from one perspective, which is kind of boring when you think about it – and you have to wear those dorky glasses, adding insult to injury. A research group at the University of British Columbia’s Human Communications Technology Lab is working on a little device that will put those new 3D TVs to shame. It may not be true 3D, but it gives an awesome illusion of depth and great real-time interaction.

The pCubee is a cube that fits right in your hand and features five flat-panel LCD screens. The screens all work together, displaying the same image but from different angles; when you turn the cube, the displays appear to show you items “inside” the cube that you’re interacting with. The perspective and real-time physics appear to be spot-on in the demonstration video.

The pCubee lets you not only turn the device over and over to watch little cows or other objects bounce around endlessly (though that would keep us entertained for many hours) – you can play games on it, too. Navigate through landscapes or mazes by tilting the cube, or even interact with objects on the screen via a stylus. The team developing the device doesn’t mention when it might be available to buy, but hopefully we’ll see it on shelves sometime soon – those cows need to be tipped.

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See more in Audio & TV or under Gadgets. March, 2010.