New Kinect hack turns any surface into touch screen

Features a display equipped with a typical projector, Kinect device and proprietary software

Start-up company Ubi Interactive is working on a new Kinect hack that turns any surface into an effective tablet touch screen.

The hack is the work of three guys, Anup Chathoth, David Hajizadeh and Chao Zhang of Ubi, which is one amongst 11 beneficiaries of Microsoft’s funding for Kinect-based applications developers.

Microsoft’s funding program for Kinect-based start-ups was unveiled early this year. The company has provided US$20,000 to the 11 Kinect-based startups.

The “any surface touch screen” features a display equipped with a typical projector, Kinect device and proprietary software. The software operates on a Windows OS computer.

Microsoft wants to mainstream the use of Kinect applications and firmly establish the technology. Unlike other Kinect-based hacks running on Windows applications, Ubi Interactive’s software utilises input from the Kinect device and the projector, as well as the user standing between the projector and the displayed image.

Whereas the resulting images are projected onto the hand and shadows on the screen, the difference with this new hack is that the hand movement actually controls everything on display. You could use any surface as a touch screen, from whiteboards, walls or any other surface.

The hack gets better if the display device is transparent. For transparent surfaces, Ubi Interactive’s hack can project the images from behind, removing the shadowing effect. The system interprets swiping and tapping commands using a 3D capability that can tell the difference between back and forth hand movements.

In addition, the technology also allows the use of both hands to rotate images and such, as it can understand in excess of one point of interaction.

The product will hit the market soon.

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