New Technology Turns Any Surface Into a Touchscreen


Imagine a world where any surface could potentially become a touchscreen for your phone … your hands, a wall or table.
OmniTouch is a wearable system that projects multi-touch interfaced onto everyday surfaces.  The system adapts easily to surfaces in 3D space, so it works even when the surface is not flat.
The technology, which is primarily composed of a shoulder-mounted depth camera and a Pico-projector, was developed by researchers at Microsoft and a user study of the technology showed that dragging performance and touch accuracy approached the sensitivity of conventional touchscreens.  The device is incredibly flexibile, far beyond the capability of a phone or tablet.  You can choose to project the interface on your hand and then switch, choosing to project on a wall, for instance, and adjust the size of the screen to better suite their needs and eyesight. OmniTouch is also capable of intelligently choosing the best display setting, so the user doesn’t have to readjust with each new surface.
This is only a prototype and the one downside is the bulky camera and projector.  It’s a shoulder mounted contraption that looks like shoulder rockets that Iron Man has in his suits or maybe a big boxy parrot that a pirate might own.   Future prototypes are expected to be much smaller, closer to the size of a matchbox.
How soon before this improved technology is incorporated into the burgeoning headgear technologies – ala Google Glass –  making hardware like iPads and phones completely useless relics??!!

One thought on “New Technology Turns Any Surface Into a Touchscreen

  1. It’s amazing what technologies are developing all around us. Not sure whether Microsoft was the first to develop this technology or just the first to market it well. Pranav Mistry spoke of this technology, which he calls 6th Sense, at Ted in 2009.

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