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WorldKit Smart Projected Interface Puts the World at Your Fingertips

Science

Smart Projected Interface Puts the World at Your Fingertips

Most of us can remember a sci-fi movie where the hero or heroine used the wall, or the table, or a tree, as a computer, but for the most part, we never imagined it would actually be real. A Day in Glass is a project video shown that brings us one step closer to that idea, but now the Carnegie Mellon University has created an amazing piece of technology known as the Worldkit which can literally turn any surface into a touchscreen. How does it work? Using the same technology from a Kinect Sensor and a smart projector, the system literally puts a button anywhere, and then allows it to be pushed using nothing but the sensor.

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The Design and Technology

The Worldkit smart projected interface was originally designed in 2010 by a Carnegie Mellon Student Chris Harrison (who has his own website). At the time, the design appeared on your hand or in front of you. Now, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon Professor Scott Hudson, and grad student Robert Xiao the Worldkit is smarter, and can do a lot more things with better tracking and 3D projection.

worldkit

The technology behind the WorldKit is actually nothing more than a Kinect Sensor and a 3D projector. The two technologies were teamed to create a machine that can track and read images, gestures, and even count. With motion tracking, buttons can appear and disappear with a wave of your hand, or when you move your hand towards the location, and then can actually make things happen, so long as the computer that the Worldkit is connected to is able to do these things. So, for example, you could connect the device to a computer, and then connect the computer to the house lighting system, as a result, you could turn lights on and off with a touch of a virtual button.

worldkit

The current model of the Worldkit virtual projector is actually very large and must sit right in front of the projection area. However, the designers estimate that with newer technology coming along, it won’t be long before a model that can be attached to any light bulb is available to project anywhere in the room. Or, technology similar to that of a motion tracking camera could be used so that the camera could simply track people everywhere in the room, and then project as needed.

worldkit

A Virtual Interface

Touchscreens are everywhere, but with a virtual interface, we wouldn’t have to spend money on breakable glass screens, (or the space for them). A projected interface to interact with a security system makes it harder to break into that system, while making it easier to access from anywhere. With the same technology, we could project more efficient virtual keyboards, we could create virtual pin code entrance locks that only respond to certain people, or even something as simple as a virtual, interactive wall that children can learn and play with. The applications for this technology are virtually limitless, especially in the fields of education, security, and entertainment. While there is a long way to go before this technology reaches fruition, it is already here, useable, and really quite simple.

What would you do with a virtual interface? Let us know in the comments below.