Make every surface a touch screen

March 8, 2012

The Wearable Multitouch Interaction system enables any surface to be used as a touch screen (credit: Microsoft Research)

Developed by Microsoft Research, Wearable Multitouch Interaction turns any surface in the user’s environment into a touch interface.

“We wanted to capitalize on the tremendous surface area the real world provides,” explains Hrvoje Benko, of the Natural Interaction Research group.

“The surface area of one hand alone exceeds that of typical smart phones. Tables are an order of magnitude larger than a tablet computer.”

The Wearable Multitouch Interaction prototype is built to be wearable, a novel combination of laser-based pico projector and depth-sensing camera.

The camera is an advanced, custom prototype provided by PrimeSense. Once the camera and projector are calibrated to each other, the user can don the system and begin using it.

“This custom camera works on a similar principle to Kinect,” Benko says, “but it is modified to work at short range.

The team stresses that, although the prototype is not as small as they would like it to be, there are no significant barriers to miniaturization and that it is entirely possible that a future version of Wearable Multitouch Interaction could be the size of a matchbox and as easy to wear as a pendant or a watch.