It looks like the beta version of something from a slick sci-fi film, but this tabletop projector from Sony actually exists. We need one of these, pronto.
The company’s Future Lab R&D team has created a projector, dubbed the "Interactive Tabletop," that essentially turns any flat surface into a screen that can be manipulated. As The Verge notes, the device uses depth sensors and motion tracking to know when objects are placed on the table.
Plus, it can be programmed to recognize specific objects (the prototype can recognize a physical copy of Alice in Wonderland, bringing the storybook to life with interactive animations). It can also track and recognize hand gestures, which allows the user to manipulate the projected objects. It can also measure the size of objects placed on top of it, which is handy and looks very cool.
Obviously, it should be noted this tech is little more than a demo at the moment, and Sony has no obvious plans to release it anytime soon. But the applications could be enormous. From objects built to be recognized and manipulated to the portability of turning any tabletop surface into a screen, these things could be huge in a few years. Heck, even the obvious applications for gaming and learning demonstrated by the Alice in Wonderland demo are enticing.
Check out some footage of the rig in action below and let us know what you think: