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A projector display navigation system operated by optic interference

Image credit: Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Mar 12, 2022
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Using lasers to create an optical input system that allows you to operate a projected screen like you would a touch-sensitive screen
  • It is reasonable to imagine that a projector with touch screen functionality would have more utility in the long run for entertainment purposes.
  • Interactive powerpoints so you don't have to time yourself per slide, that just causes anxiety and detracts from the presentation.
  • Most schools use projectors for instruction in classes, allowing students to interact with learning material could be an aid to learning
How it works
The system is based on a similar principle as the IBM virtual keyboard designed in 1992 . The same principle is also responsible for the "holographic keyboard" . By shooting a system of lasers, it is possible to create a map of a region of space. Once anything crosses the path of the lasers the system is able to record this obstruction. This is done via a CMOS image sensor module though I am unsure on whether it would be a feasible solution on such a scale. As a backup, you could just make the projection screen photosensitive and use that to map out the interferences across the projection.
Once the laser system is in place, a program is written that is able to recreate the actions causing the interference digitally. These actions are then converted to commands like this:
  • Raise one hand up- pause
  • Two fingers moving across the screen- toggle a navigation pointer
  • A flick of the wrist- next tab
Other commands could be added as the programmer sees fit.
Along with the projected image , a secondary projection of lasers is shot slightly below the image. The screen the projected image lands on could also be photosensitive for improved accuracy. The setup could be programmed to ignore things like large bodies moving across the screen as they are not controls. So if you were seated on a couch in front of the projector, by slightly raising your hands to cross the path of the beams it would be possible to navigate the projection ahead of you.

[1] EP 0554492 Hans E. Korth: "Method and device for optical input of commands or data". filed on 07.02.1992


[3]Hesseldahl, Arik (2002). "Typing On The Table". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-07-12.



Creative contributions

The future of contactless interaction tools

Povilas S
Povilas S Mar 12, 2022
Your idea reminded me of mimu gloves, a tool used to play music through movement. The gloves contain movement sensors that translate specific moves to specific sounds, it's basically a sound controller without buttons, keys, or switches.
First I thought that a similar glove with movement sensors could be used to realize your idea, but it might be more complicated than your proposed laser system since in this case movements have to be represented in a spatial matrix, while with music you only need to link different movements to different sounds and musical commands.
In any case, it makes me wonder will the touch-activated controllers (keyboards, mouses, switches, and even touch screens) eventually be replaced by aerial body movements, is that something people would prefer, or are we too used to handheld tools. And can aerial body movements be an intermediate state between handheld tools and devices simply controlled by our thoughts through brain-computer interfaces?
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Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice2 years ago
I think I also saw a prototype of something like that once, not sure if it's the same product but it's a similar design. You do have a point on the complexity of the laser setup though. I saw a tv that had a wearable finger controller instead of a remote control and I thought it was a great idea save for how easy it would be to lose it. I was trying to find a way to remove an input device entirely from the system
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Smart motion tracking camera that converts movements to commands

Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Mar 14, 2022
Povilas S, how doable is this? I know there are cameras that can track faces , eyes and motion. What if you made a camera to track just the hands. You would create a program that can identify hands and then be able to distinguish specific hand movements. I thought this would have applications in sign language too so I checked, and software like that is already in use. Now, all we would have to do is attach each hand sign to a command on a device, You could also create an activation command like clapping your hands twice.
You could market it as a universal remote control system, Then link it to your tv, smart lights, and anything else that's compatible. By clapping twice and pointing to a device you can now control it using just gestures and hand motions.
I realize learning all the unique gestures might be hard in the beginning but over time it could be possible to find ways to simplify them after seeing consumer feedback.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 years ago
Yes, camera is an option, but the main problem with using camera is essentially the same as with using sensors in gloves - you can code commands that way, but you don't have an aerial matrix which is the representation of the screen in an operational sense.
The main advantage or simply an exceptional quality of the laser system you propose in the initial idea is that you have a "touch screen" without having a touch screen, there's an area in space that is defined by laser beams which you touch and the touch is then translated to the movements on the screen.
This is something that J. Nikola was referring to, I suppose, by saying that this limits the presenter's movements in space to a rather confined segment.
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Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice2 years ago
Povilas S so the pros and cons for both would be as follows:
with a camera, you have a greater range of motion while operating but will take a lot more to make a working model.
A laser system is more practical to make but in exchange, you limit yourself to a small working area.
As an added pro to the camera approach, I don't really think a 3d matrix is necessary. Instead what if they tracked motion frame by frame? It could still convey the same control mechanics without complex 3-dimensional code. At this point, it appears the motion and gesture-sensitive camera is our best option.
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General comments

jnikola2 years ago
Contrived _voice Povilas S These systems you are proposing, do they require you to stand in a single place while presenting? In other words, is the "control board" located in a single place below or next to the projected image? If yes, this seems much more complicated than just having a remote controller or a tablet for advanced use of the projector. It limits the movement of the presenter.
In my school, we used to have smart blackboards similar to these. Could they solve some of your issues? Maybe the projector is a technology that will soon die out.
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Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice2 years ago
J. Nikola It could work. but it's an existing concept. This is a vision for something much better. A non-touchscreen display is what I'm going for. The improved idea is more convenient and is a step up in practicality.
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