You may have seen your fair share of futuristic computers and interfaces and, with the exception of “air gestures” like those on Minority Report, most of them have one thing in common: they’re all done on touch screens. Perhaps realizing that it might not be practical, or economical, to put displays on anything and everything, Sony’s R&D is aiming for the next best thing. Revealed way back in February, the Xperia Projector, which is yet to be a real product, turns any flat surface into a touch “screen”, removing the need for actual screens while still keeping all the fancy functionality around.
The idea isn’t exactly new and we’ve seen crude version of that concept, particular in those laser projection Bluetooth keyboards. The device projects images on any surface, preferably flat ones, like any projector. But it is also able to sense hand movement, allowing users to interact with projected objects as if they were touching a real, touch-sensitive, glass display.
The benefits of this different way of creating touch surface are immediately evident. Any surface can be a touch screen. It doesn’t say whether the surface has to be perfectly flat, but we’ll presume that to be the case. The surface doesn’t even have to be horizontal. If you want a wall display, you can do that too. And you can take it anywhere with you. Or at least anywhere inside the house.
Of course, it also has drawbacks, as it will be behold to the same conditions as any short throw projector, particularly dim ambient light and batteries.
For now, though, the Xperia Projector remains a concept and a prototype, which was shown off in previous tech events. Sony hasn’t dropped any hints on when it plans to actually turn it into a product, but it could very well be one of their biggest hits when it does.