Thursday, February 23, 2012

LightBeam Makes Ordinary Surfaces and Objects Interactive Projector Displays and Remotes

Technische Universität DarmstadtPico projectors currently have the ability to turn any surface into a screen. However, what they can't do is turn that same surface into an interactive projector screen and average, everyday items into a remote control. Until now. Developed by a team from the Technische Univerität Darmstadt in Germany, LightBeam pairs a pico projector with a depth-sensing camera. This allows it to provide a lot of interactive features, much like Microsoft's Kinect sensor, to projected presentations.

The prototype developed by the German team actually uses a Kinect sensor to provide the motion tracking and depth perception. Any type of display surface can be manipulated within a limited 3D space with the projected image reorienting itself and rotating when the object you are projecting on is rotated. In addition to that, you can change the level of detail displayed by the projector dynamically relative to the amount of display surface available.

LightBeam also allows everyday objects to function as a remote control. That means that you can control your entire presentation by manipulating an object within the camera's field of vision. For example, you could twist anything in your hand to switch from a Flickr slideshow to your Facebook page or to go back to what you were previously viewing.

The team from Technische Univerität Darmstadt developed their prototype to examine how a user would interact with a physical object using the LightBeam system. What they discovered was that people who participated in the study were able to adapt to the idea of using physical objects as remotes for the projector very quickly and also liked the ability to quickly change between different detail levels. The participants also suggested that a good idea might be to bind digital information to physical objects like physical documents, something the team is planning on looking into in the future.

The LightBeam prototype is expected to be presented at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) 2012 in Austin, Texas in May.

Source: Gizmag - LightBeam makes any surface a projector display, and everyday objects a remote control
Geek - LightBeam adds intelligent object interaction to pico projectors

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