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Touchscreen killer? Cam boffinry cut'n'pastes from real things

Bit like tech from Minority Report flick

Fujitsu

Vid Japanese boffins at Fujitsu have been showing off new user-interface technology which uses advanced image processing to effectively digitise physical content, allowing users to manipulate it like they would with a touchscreen interface.

The system consists of a camera and projector so that a user can select a piece of physical content – for example a section of text or image in a book – by dragging their finger across it, and it will then be scanned and projected digitally back onto the table top.

It can then be manipulated just like digital content on a touchscreen computing device.

Although the system uses a standard projector and web cam, its powerful image processing software is able to accurately map and then detect a user’s finger as it travels across a physical object, at speeds of 300 mm per second, Fujitsu said.

Precision here is key as the touch recognition works by detecting finger height, with a single mismatched pixel apparently resulting in a 1cm difference in finger height.

The announcement was first trialed by Fujitsu earlier this month but DigInfo.tv has now been to see it in action.

The Fujitsu boffins have also been careful to ensure the system can map curved surfaces, such as the pages of a book, and that it isn’t thrown by differences in individual hand colour, or the colour and brightness of the object to be scanned.

The video demo also shows the system enabling users to physically manipulate 3D images using a fist gesture.

Fujitsu has set a 2014 date for the commercialisation of the product, with potential use cases ranging from travel agents showing info to customers to filling in forms in local government offices. ®

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