Sunday, March 07, 2010

Pranav Mistry's SixthSense - on an Android-based wearable projector+webcam platform?

A visiting family friend of ours pointed me to Pranav Mistry's SixthSense. If you haven't seen this already, do watch the Videos - it's really Pretty Cool Stuff.

A few days later I still can't stop thinking about this. I've started pondering about how far out in the future this amazing concept may be (in a commercialized consumer available variant) - or how close actually? What you need to make this happen is, probably: 1. a "reasonably powerful" portable computing platform, 2. wearable projector, 3. wearable capturing thing (something which senses where your finger / foot whatever points to / moves around on the projected image), 4. software with touch interface, and more.

The 1. portable computing platform could be e.g. an Android-powered device. It occurred to me to Google for "android projector", and doing that you'll discover e.g. the upcoming Samsung Beam, a small Android-based device from Samsung with a built-in projector/beamer (using a "DLP pico projector", whatever that is). I doubt it has capturing of what it projects.

Pranav's "current prototype system" which "costs approximate $350 to build" seems to be using a standard off-the-shelve webcam (and some "magic" software, or is this easier to do than I realize?). Hook that up to an Android... isn't quite possible yet, from what I found in
Android's Issue 738 about "missing support for the USB host feature", but that's surely just a question of a little bit more time? (Or directly using an Android's device built-in camera? But wouldn't the projector and the cam have to be calibrated together so the capturing works?)

And then some smart software, certainly. A touch-based platform seems a good foundation?

So this could actually be made possible in a closer future than some may think.

Wouldn't this be... "neat", or what? I would love to be able to look more into this...