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gCubik+i development makes it possible to pick-up images from a digital book and explore them as 3D images on your palm.

- Images transforming from 2D to 3D instantaneously in front of your eyes -

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July 30, 2009

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT, President Dr. Hideo Miyahara) has developed gCubik+i, an interactive 3D display system that makes it possible to naturally pick-up images from a digital book, hard-copy print or another 2D media and transform them into 3D images. You can explore the 3D images on your palm as if you were holding the real object. The system is based on gCubik, a cubic 3D display without special glasses.


At NICT Keihanna Research Labs, the Universal Media Center is researching on communication technologies to capture and reproduce ultra-realistic presence among users. We have proposed the gCubik, a graspable cubic 3D display without special glasses, as a communication tool for co-located users. The gCubik is a 360-degree display that reproduces images of 3D objects inside a glass case.

New Results

Based on our communication tool gCubik, we have developed gCubik+i, an interactive 3D display system that makes it possible to pickup information displayed in digital illustrated books and explore them as 3D images on your palm, see Figure 1. The theme of our current prototype is based on a sea life illustrated book and consists of the gCubik and one LCD display, placed on a table, that displays CG images of sea life animals inside the water. You can use the gCubik to touch an animal and make it move into the cube so you can explore it in 3D on your palm. Once you are done, you can simply shake the gCubik to put that animal back to the LCD display and start exploring another, refer to Figure 2 and Figure 3. Instead of the LCD display, the system can also utilize traditional printed media, transforming it into a 3D image interactive experience.

Until now, only images computed beforehand were possible, this time, we have successfully developed an image rendering algorithm that allows the gCubik to display 3D images in real-time. Thanks to this algorithm, we can now display not only moving 3D images and change 3D object models instantaneously, but also add interactivity by using touch panels and accelerometer sensors to rotate, move, and change the color of the models at your will. This has made it possible to develop the gCubik+i application with ease.

Future Plans

Based on the development of this technology, we expect to see applications varying from Internet shopping, where users can pickup information from catalogs displayed on regular 2D monitors and transform them into 3D products on their own hands; to educational multimedia materials that integrate printed books and moving 3D images.


The gCubik+i system will be exhibited at "SIGGRAPH 2009 Emerging Technologies" to be held on August 3-7 in New Orleans USA. Also, to be shown in Tokyo (Japan) at the "NICT Symposium on Ultra-Realistic Communications" on August 8th. It can also be viewed at NICT Keihanna Research Labs (Kyoto, Japan), interested parties please contact us at the following locations:


Figure 1 : Interacting with a Digital Illustrated Book Using the gCubik+i

Figure 2 : Image Exchange, Digital Book and the gCubik Figure 3 : Grasping a Tropical Fish

Technical Contact

Roberto Lopez-Gulliver, Shunsuke YOSHIDA
Multi-modal Communication Group
Universal Media Research Center
Tel :+81-774-95-2641

Public Relations

Sachiko HIROTA
Public Relations Office
Strategic Planning Department