Tech whizzkid impresses Google with 3D invention
A young Maltese man chosen by Google over 10,000 other curious minds has returned to Malta loaded with advice from technology moguls and brimming with enthusiasm for innovation.
Last Monday, Melvin Zammit took his revolutionary three-dimensional display to the giant search engine’s offices after his keen interest in electronics won him a ticket to Google headquarters in California.
He was there as one of 15 finalists in the Google Science Fair, an annual global online competition that rewards “curious minds” aged between 13 and 18.
Mr Zammit, 18, represented Malta with an original system made up of multiple transparent images stacked in front of each other displaying a “real” 3D image.
“If an array of LEDs are spun in a circle and switched on and off accordingly, an image would form by illusion. When some of these layers are stacked after each other, you get a 3D display,” is how Mr Zammit explains it.
The set-up makes 3D displays look “real”, especially when compared with today’s 3D imagery built on stereoscopic technology, which tends to feel unnatural.
He says the concept could have “infinite possible applications” in the future, such as in 3D modelling, gaming, 3D telephony, hospitals “and many other applications that require a realistic volumetric display”.
Although on Monday Mr Zammit failed to make it into the top three, he says the experience has opened doors for him. The European organisation for nuclear research, Cern, has expressed interest in his idea.
Among the trip’s highlights were his meetings with Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Vint Cerf, an American computer scientist considered one of the fathers of the internet.
Mr Zammit said he not only made contacts in large companies but with other young researchers. He added that one of the most exciting things was that “the Maltese flag was everywhere”.
Throughout the three-day tour the Google headquarters flew the Maltese flag alongside the US, Canadian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Indian and Swaziland flags.