Turn Any Wall into a Full-Sized Touch Screen Display with Kinect

Here we are at Day 1 of Intel Developer Forum witnessing some fabulous proof-of-concept designs. The first concept to really catch our eye is Intel’s “Display without Boundaries”, where Intel turns any surface into a fully capable multi-touch screen. That means you can turn any wall, table, or item into a touch-screen device that recognizes multitouch gestures and actions as smoothly as iPad.

So what’s the trick? What kind of magic does Intel use and how does it work so well? Intel uses a regular projector, an ordinary surface, the ever-so-popular Microsoft Xbox Kinect, a computer, and their specially designed software and recognization algorithms. This means, at this very moment you may have every component to Display without Boundaries, except of course the key ingredient: Intel’s algorithm and software.

Display without Boundaries is fully conceptual with no specifications or immediate plans for release, yet it’s still something to be excited about. It means that at some point in the near future, all of us can add gigantic interactive displays in our homes and offices at a ridiculously affordable price. A used Kinect costs $50, a cheap projector is $100, and we’re sure you have a capable computer laying around.

The first demo we saw turned the inside of a bowl into a display. As someone swiped the images, the bowl appeared to be authentically turning. It wasn’t until I tried it myself that I realized the bowl was stationary. The first demo showed off the idea that Display without Boundaries is not limited to flat surfaces. You could also swipe an image from the bowl over to the wall, and vice versa.

The second demo we saw has more of a social influence, called “Emotions through Images”. A similar touch-screen wall displayed a number of crowd-sourced Instagram images. Each image was colored by a border that reflects the emotional impact of the image. Rather than rating thumbs up or thumbs down, you can rate images based on how it makes you feel using a touchscreen mood map. Intel’s algorithm tries to play a part by using tags to help label an emotion. While we’re not necessarily sold on Emotions through images, we admire Intel’s goal of capturing and sharing the collective vibe of events.

We chalk up Display without Boundaries as a good indicator that huge advancements are coming to the masses in making multi-touch widely available and easy to implement. Really, all we’re missing is the software.