The tech world has been buzzing for the past week over an MIT Media Lab student project which converts any surface - including the human body - into a touchpad that controls a mobile computer in your pocket. Using just $350 of off-the-shelf technology, Pranav Mistry created the device for the Fluid Interfaces group at the Media Lab.
According to Wired's Kim Zetter, who reported on the device from entertainment technology conference TED:
The prototype was built from an ordinary webcam and a battery-powered 3M projector, with an attached mirror — all connected to an internet-enabled mobile phone. The setup, which costs less than $350, allows the user to project information from the phone onto any surface — walls, the body of another person or even your hand . . . The gestures can be as simple as using his fingers and thumbs to create a picture frame that tells the camera to snap a photo, which is saved to his mobile phone. When he gets back to an office, he projects the images onto a wall and begins to size them. When he encounters someone at a party, the system projects a cloud of words on the person's body to provide more information about him — his blog URL, the name of his company, his likes and interests.
Mistry and his colleagues have patented the device, which they believe will integrate nicely into next-generation mobiles that come equipped with projectors. I love the idea of dialing a phone from my hand, or taking pictures with finger gestures.
Read more about the project at Wired.