LightBeam makes any surface a projector display, and everyday objects a remote control

Pico projectors might be able to turn any old surface into a display

Pico projectors might be able to turn any old surface into a display – with varying results of course – but can they turn any old surface into in interactive display and everyday objects into a remote control? No? Well, with LightBeam they can. Developed by a team at Germany’s Technische Universität Darmstadt, LightBeam pairs a pico projector with a depth-sensing camera to provide some Kinect style interactive control to projected presentations.

The Kinect-like capabilities of the LightBeam system are no surprise when you consider that the prototype the team has come up with makes use of a Kinect sensor to provide motion tracking and depth sensing. Makeshift display surfaces – a piece of paper or a book, for example – can be manipulated within a limited 3D space and the projected image will reorient itself, even rotating when the paper is rotated. The level of detail displayed by the projector can also be altered dynamically relative to the amount of display surface available.

To negate the need to run back to a connected laptop or fiddle with a physical remote when giving a presentation, LightBeam also allows everyday objects to function as a remote control. As demonstrated in the video below, a presentation can be controlled by manipulating an object within the camera’s field of vision – in this case, twisting a mug to switch between a Flickr slideshow and a Facebook page.

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