Cool Technology from Disney Research: Side by Side Projector

The kinds of accessories available for smartphones are becoming increasingly impressive. While a nifty case or speaker dock used to be impressive, tech researchers are beginning to produce devices that enhance the smartphone experience for the young and old alike. The tech gurus at Disney Research, Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University recently released announced the development of a side by side projector that allows users to play interactive games being projected onto a wall. It’s the overhead projector of the future.

The side by side projector works with a few different game apps that are designed specifically for the system, while researchers also suggest that the technology may be used for information sharing, like file exchange, in the future. How, exactly, does it work? That’s a little more complicated; but cool!

Two small, handheld projectors can be held by two users. Meanwhile, the projector itself emits infrared and visible light that allows a camera, also mounted on the projectors, to track where an image is at on the projection surface. As the camera tracks one image, it allows the app to “interact” with the other image. For instance, the demo video shows one app with rabbits playing. As one bunny is moved closer to the other, caused by the user moving the projector, the bunny hands a flower to the other. It is quite an amazing display!

Currently, only a few apps have been developed for use with the side by side projectors and it will likely be a bit before we see them on the market, but this is potentially a new and innovative way for families to play with their smartphones and use the advance of technology to find more time playing together.

Check out the video below for a demo of how the side by side projector works, and how it could change the way we “play” with the smartphone.