Summer Mix with mobile Projectors

Hi everybody,

time for an update, though I guess most of us try to stay in the shade at some pool these days!
With Siggraph 2013 being over, it’s time to relax and to sort oneself and browse for new videos popping up. Something worth looking into is the following concept, brought by the successors of Walt:

The Disney Research HideOut

Disney research has presented a new spin to the projection-based Augmented Reality approach.


Disney claims, that by 2014 we will have a number of 39 million embedded projectors present in our daily life. We can agree upon, that there are more and more prototypes and ready to market smartphones with integrated pico projectors, etc… Thus, it is really not farfetched to consider this gadget combination for more research these days.

What did they do? They combined a ShowWX pico projector with a camera with an infrared filter. This combined input/output device will record the to-be-augmented scenery and find fiducial markers lying around, that have invisible, but infrared-sensitive ink on them.

Thus, the projection and augmentation will happen as usual, here using the ARToolKitPlus for tracking. But the user will not see the ugly markers. Most important step: the software does an additional distortion for the anamorphic projection to match the user’s point of view. This calculated position is of course just guess-work, as the projector/camera is not mounted to the user’s head. But the paper and video present this as a valid one user solution, that works well. Here the video:

Issues I see here is the possible obsolescence of the infrared concept, if 3D feature tracking rises further. Extra prepared surfaces are more effort then. This concept feels more like a gap-filler, but a good one!

Another idea would be to combine this further with other interaction technologies like the Kinect (or other depth-sensing systems). Kinect sounds like a no-go with their infrared grid, though. Other approaches like structure from motion by stereo pairs might get us further…
As with any projected system single versus multi-user is of concern. On the one hand regarding the privacy of information (but this only depends on the use case) and on the other hand regarding the anamorphic projection, that is single user only with a single camera/projector setup.

So, let’s observe, where Disney is taking this approach and what neat applications might rise out of it. Maybe they come up with some cool new concepts for multi-user, possibly hands-free applications and fun games!