Sci-Fi In Real Life: The OmniTouch Projector Is A Huge Leap In User Interface Technology
We’re geeks, and proud of it. That means we’ve been around the block when it comes not only to sci-fi properties, but to the products that get us incrementally closer to those iconic toys they have in some of our favorite flicks. We all saw the opening scene in Minority Report and had full-on nerdgasms over that amazing interface Tom Cruise piloted. And how about Iron Man’s in helmet holographic interface? We’re always looking for the coolest tech, and without a genius like Tony Stark to advance technology in generational leaps, we have to accept smaller jumps towards our idea of a sci-fi future.
That said, Microsoft has unveiled an awesome first step towards those same kinds of holographic device control with the OmniTouch, a “wearable multitouch projector” that allows you to do all kinds of cool stuff on any surface you want. Want to use the tray table on your flight as a keyboard? You can do that. Want to paint a pretty picture on your hand? You can do that too. The outstanding technology was developed by Chris Harrison a PhD student working for Microsoft Research, and has many implications about the kinds of things Microsoft is looking to do. Check out the video of the device in action after the jump.
So not only do you get to do the same sort of things you do on your smartphone, you get to do them anywhere and not be tethered to a device you need to fish out of your pocket or purse every time it goes ‘ding!’. On top of that, you get to wear a rad shoulder rig that makes you look like the god damned Predator. You can threaten people with alien missiles, then check to see if your Amazon order shipped. Versatile.
Obviously the tech is in the baby stages. The UI looks clunky and low res, but seeing it function in the real world is very impressive. It knows when you’re using two surfaces and it knows when you’re using multitouch, two hugely important factors. It’s only a matter of time before someone figures out how to use the air in front of your face as a surface and use your eye as a selection tool rather than your finger. The OmniTouch is a really cool first step and we should all be very excited to see what Chris Harrison and Microsoft come up with next.