Projector used to create counter top touch-screen
According to researchers at Purdue University, the next step in touch-screen technology may be to project onto other surfaces.

Recently unveiled by engineers Karthik Ramani and Niklas Elmqvist, a new projector-based computer input system can make a flat surface interactive.

The projector-based system uses a Microsoft Kinect camera and a computer to allow the user to interact with an image displayed by the projector onto any surface.

Using an image-processing algorithm, the computer tracks and identifies changes in hand movements, interpreting proximity to a projected image as a touch and even identifying the difference between a finger and a thumb.

The Purdue system is unique in that the projected image can be manipulated by more than one person at once as the system can interpret interference of the projected image at multiple points.

The system is expected to benefit consumers, allowing them to turn any surface into an interactive tablet using their current technology and a projector. This would enable consumers to enjoy the benefits of a tablet on their tabletop, and may even lead to projector-based tabletop entertainment.

Ramani said: “We’re going through a revolution in the space of humans interacting with physical and virtual things, I see a whole new world emerging.”