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Sony's touchscreen projector technology feels like the future of interactivity

March 13, 2017 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by The Verge

A touchscreen without a display.

This year at SXSW, Sony opened up what it calls the "Wow Factory" in a converted warehouse on Trinity Street in Austin, where members of its Future Lab program have set up some of the coolest and weirdest hardware concepts out there. The Future Lab program is a research and development initiative that urges Sony employees to think more about human interaction and creativity, and not just bigger screens and faster processors

One theme Sony hit upon at last year's show and brought back in full force this go-around is projector-based touchscreen technology. The company has essentially taken its expertise in display projection and married with some truly unique user interface design. The result is a pair of prototype products that can turn any flat surface into a screen that you can not only interact with using your hands, but that can also take real-world objects and turn them into a kind of augmented reality version of themselves.

Imagine placing a copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland on the table and then being able to drag a character off the page, or running your finger along a plain wooden surface and turning it into a responsive piano made of light. One demo even takes angular blocks of white-painted wood and transforms the table into a scale model of a home -- using only light from the projector.

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