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Japan’s New Floating Touchscreen Magic Trick

 

Japan is known for its cutting-edge, breakthrough technology – and its latest innovation underlines this reputation.

It’s cooking up interactive touchscreens that give them the illusion of floating in the air. Aside from its cool effects, Japan’s new technology has a very important and practical use in many environments, including hospital operating rooms… as well as other areas where gesture-control technology is more befitting than mere touchscreens.

Let’s take a closer look at this interactive screen that mysteriously floats in mid-air…

A Little Technology Voodoo

A hidden LED screen produces light, which then bounces off of a retro-reflective surface… and through a one-way mirror. Then, an image appears. Professor Masatoshi Ishikawa, of Tokyo University, says the images that this technology creates in space takes floating screen technology to a whole new level:

“One of the biggest differences is that compared to those displays created up to this point, the angle of view has been greatly increased. In addition to that, we’ve managed to add on gesture recognition – and extremely fast recognition at that – so that’s one of the biggest changes.”

The process is very fast paced, actually… allowing for highly responsive image manipulation. Hundreds of pictures are taken per second by stereo cameras. This allows the technology to precisely track a user’s hand and finger gestures as they relate to the floating images on the screen. These gestures are then translated into commands by computer software. Professor Ishikawa explains the advantage of gesture technology:

“In hospitals and such during surgery, when one’s hands are dirty, it’s still possible to use this, or to use it in a variety of situations at a construction site.”

Aside from hospitals and construction, this eye-grabbing invention could be potentially used for gaming, as well. Professor Hirotsugu Yamamoto (co-developer) and Ishikawa are shooting for 2015 to have a version of their system commercially available.