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Disney Turns Your Desk Into An Interactive 3-D Playground

A prototype camera-projector setup brings storybooks, board games, and physical desktops to life.

  • <p>Disney, a company that knows a thing or two about bringing characters off the page and into the real world, has produced a new of a new kind of interface that does just that.</p>
  • <p>A tiny mobile projector beams out a figure that moves around a surface embedded with invisible infrared-absorbing sensors--a book, a desktop, a game board, a table, or a wall.</p>
  • <p>A camera attached to the projector tracks the figure and reads the code printed in the infrared-absorbent ink, which causes the figure to interact meaningfully with the sensed object.</p>
  • <p>A projected figure can track mud from an illustration of a puddle, or jump up and down on a paper trampoline, as seen here.</p>
  • <p>The 2-D image uses anamorphic projection, an optical illusion dating back to Da Vinci's notebooks, to appear 3-D as it moves across the flat white backgrounds.</p>
  • 01 /05

    Disney, a company that knows a thing or two about bringing characters off the page and into the real world, has produced a new of a new kind of interface that does just that.

  • 02 /05

    A tiny mobile projector beams out a figure that moves around a surface embedded with invisible infrared-absorbing sensors--a book, a desktop, a game board, a table, or a wall.

  • 03 /05

    A camera attached to the projector tracks the figure and reads the code printed in the infrared-absorbent ink, which causes the figure to interact meaningfully with the sensed object.

  • 04 /05

    A projected figure can track mud from an illustration of a puddle, or jump up and down on a paper trampoline, as seen here.

  • 05 /05

    The 2-D image uses anamorphic projection, an optical illusion dating back to Da Vinci's notebooks, to appear 3-D as it moves across the flat white backgrounds.

Disney,a company that knows a thing or two about bringing characters off the page and into the real world, has produced a prototype of a new kind of interface that does just that.

A tiny mobile projector beams out a figure that moves around a surface embedded with invisible infrared-absorbing sensors—a book, a desktop, a game board, a table, or a wall. A camera attached to the projector tracks the figure and reads the code printed in the infrared-absorbent ink, which causes the figure to interact meaningfully with the sensed object. A projected figure can track mud from an illustration of a puddle, or jump up and down on a paper trampoline.

The 2-D image uses anamorphic projection, an optical illusion dating back to Da Vinci's notebooks, to appear 3-D as it moves across the flat white backgrounds. While the Disney Research prototype, dubbed HideOut, is a handheld device, both the projector and the camera could be shrunk down into a mobile phone, and used for business as well as for child's play.

We seem to be on the verge of a whole new way of interacting with the digital world, involving wearable devices, screens everywhere, and 3-D gesture control.

Slideshow Credits: 01 / disneyresearch.com; 02 / disneyresearch.com; 03 / disneyresearch.com; 04 / disneyresearch.com; 05 / disneyresearch.com;