Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Sustainable Energy

Simulated Cityscape

You’re an urban planner, looking at a tabletop model of a city. You would like to know what the impact would be if a proposed new building were moved to the left, so you shift it slightly. A digital shadow appears from the base of the building, a high-speed wind tunnel is generated and the reflection off the glass building blinds motorists driving by-evidence that perhaps the change wouldn’t be such a good idea after all.

Developed under the direction of Hiroshi Ishii at MIT’s Media Lab, this urban simulation uses a specially designed lightbulb with a built-in camera and projector to track the position of buildings in a model. The camera recognizes the structures using an optical tagging system; small colored dots encode the object’s dimensions. When a structure is moved, the system displays the resulting shadows and wind patterns on the model’s surface. Developers in Boston and Washington, D.C. have already expressed interest in using the system for their construction projects.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.