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South African invents third-generation shape display
April 2007, News


A South-African inventor has invented and applied to patent (what he refers to as) a third-generation shape-based display technology where such information as a process variable or a set of process variables is displayed as a geometric shape. This innovative concept, which the inventor claims to be a world first in display technology, is unique in that it does not require any reading of numerical or text values.

The inventor says: "In the last 560 years few improvements have been made on the basic display of information. The traditional concept of the steam gauge is still largely unchanged from the original invention. Mechanics may have given way to electronics, but the basic bar graph and steam gauge displays still require numeric information to be read and interpreted."

The human brain is programmed for shape recognition. As a result, the Geometrica shape-based technology is a superb interface between man and machine. No longer is there a need to read or interpret information, making Geometrica displays fast and accurate. Just as we are able to recognise a face in a room full of others, our brain can instantly recognise a shape, and we only need to see it in peripheral vision. A person can remain focused on a primary task like driving, and at the same time perceive changes in a geometric figure’s shape, size and colour, without taking his or her eyes off the road.

How does this work? Take a circular shape and have its radius represent speed. A small radius represents a low speed. As the speed increases, the radius expands and the circle gets bigger.

To represent multiple variables as a single status, take a triangle. The length of each leg represents a temperature or some other value. As the value increases the triangle leg extends in length. Select a scale for each leg such that the desired nominal value, or range of values, results in a specific leg length. This scale value may be different for each leg. When the values for all three legs are within the nominal range, the legs form an unbroken triangle and the three sides are coloured green. As soon as a value is outside its nominal range, the corresponding leg changes colour and length so that the triangle is broken.

It is possible to convert data to status information using this technology and to use a single shape to monitor very complex systems; anything from factories to nuclear submarines. This technology has application in the fields of instrumentation, industry, medicine, and many others.

Patents over this technology have been applied for in South Africa and various other countries.

For more information contact Sarel P Wagner, Geometrica, +27 (0)82 440 0191, sarel.wagner@gmail.com, www.microafrica.co.za


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