Manipulate 3-D Virtual Objects More Quickly

Scientists developed a device Called CAPTIVE to manipulate virtual objects more quickly. It has the potential to facilitate interactive applications such as games as well as viewing 3D information.


Scientists from the North Carolina State University have devised a new controller for controlling virtual objects. The device allows a user to control virtual objects in the computer program in 3D with less lag time.

Scientists named this controller as CAPTIVE that looks like a plastic cube with differently colored balls at each corner. It is made using a 3D printer that offers six degrees of freedom (6DoF) for users.

CAPTIVE uses three components: a simple cube, the webcam already found on most smartphones and laptops, and custom software. Whenever the users manipulate the cube, the image is captured by the webcam.

It also uses video recognition software to track the movement of the cube in three dimensions by tracking how each of the colored balls moves in relation to the others.

Lead author, Zeyuan Chen said, “The primary advantage of CAPTIVE is that it is efficient. There are a number of tools on the market that can be used to manipulate 3-D virtual objects, but CAPTIVE allows users to perform these tasks much more quickly.”

Scientists conducted the number of experiments to determine how quickly users can complete a series of tasks. They found that CAPTIVE is almost twice as fast as what is possible with competing technologies. As compare to other 6DoF input devices, it is also inexpensive.

Chen said, “Basically, there’s no latency; no detectable lag time between what the user is doing and what they see on screen.”

“There are no electronic components in the system that aren’t already on your smartphone, tablet or laptop, and 3-D printing the cube is not costly. That really leaves only the cost of our software.”

According to scientists, CAPTIVE has applications ranging from video gaming to medical diagnostics to design tools.

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