A research project carried out by Microsoft has created a new projector and sensor technology that could allow users to access device interfaces on any surface.

The developers have combined a pico projector with a Microsoft Kinect sensor to create a system that, when mounted on a user’s shoulder, allows walls, desks, notepads and even the user’s hand to be turned into an interactive surface.

A recent demonstration of the equipment by Microsoft researcher, Hrvoje Benko, saw him dial a telephone number on a projected image on a wall and navigate a map on the palm of his hand, according to InAvate.

The technology was developed with experts from Carnegie Mellon University in the US, and allows for numerous interaction possibilities, due to the ability of the depth sensors to register gestures made in 3D space, as well as registering instructions made in 2D on surfaces, using traditional touch commands.

The latest demonstration is the third incarnation of the technology by the same developers, which started off life under the name of Skinput. A development in October 2011 was labelled OmniTouch, although that label appears to have been abandoned in favour of simply calling the system the Wearable Multitouch Projector.