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New Augmented Reality Prototype Can Make Any Object A Touch-Sensitive Visual Display

May 28, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by DJ Pangburn / The Creators Project

From music apps to Oculus Rift developments, it's no question that augmented reality is continuously forcing its way into popular consciousness. Yet one of the technological questions to be answered about the increasingly-omnipresent format is the range and scope of how humans will interact with the innovation. Whether it's smart glasses or other tech products, voice command has proven to be one of the more popular system preferences for AR-human interaction, but what other alternatives are out there?


Enter startup Metaio: a company that is invested in the fusion of augmented reality and thermal technology. Metaio has recently created augmented reality tech with a set-up called Thermal Touch technology, a thermal imaging-driven user interface that could turn any surface into a touch screen with visual effects. The company claims they can turn "any physical object around you a touchable objects, so the world becomes a touch screen."

Metaio_Thermal Touch

Thermal Touch features a pair of cameras, one infrared, the other standard, running on a PC tablet. When a user touches the tablet screen, a heat signature is left behind, which Metaio software reads and interprets as the user's selection. This means that users would have the ability to, say, physically play chess on a table with a partner sitting across from you, with just a tablet to connect the two players, the desk, and the game. Or you could touch a toy car, and your tablet would respond by creating a variety of visual effects shooting out of the plastic vehicle.

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