Create interactive virtual touchscreens on any surface.
Thanks to our iPads & smartphones, we take touch screens for granted. However we are still limited by the size of the screen. Here’s something that could change things for the masses & impact technology in a huge way.
A new wearable projection system co-invented by Chris Harrison, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, allows you to turn any surface into an interactive touch screen. Here’s how it works:
Using a shoulder-mounted mini projector combined with a kinect-type camera, omnitouch, as its called, can capture the user’s interaction with a virtual screen, converting walls, notebooks, or the user’s body into a virtual, interactive touchscreen. The projector creates a graphic interface on walls, books, tables, hands or basically anything else in the user’s vicinity. The camera can detect whether the user is manipulating the interface with one or more fingers, and whether those fingers are hovering above the surface or “clicking” on the virtual interface.
During tests, the interface performed about as well as mainstream touch interfaces already in use today. Users don’t need any special training or detailed instructions to use the device, and surfaces wouldn’t require any preparation to be used as impromptu virtual interfaces.
The video above shows various uses of the interface, and they are all completely amazing. According to Harrison and his research partners, the system could distribute functionality intelligently – for example, it could use the hand as the color pallette and a wall as the canvas for a painting program. Unlike most other novel touch screen prototypes, this one looks simple to use and intuitive: just what we want in a brand new type of interface.