Cameras help turn tables into touchscreens

Any paper document can be turned into an interactive touchscreen using a projection and camera system developed by Fujitsu._67032013_fujitsu

The system lets users instantly copy text and photographs by using a finger to draw a box around them.

The digital copies can then be moved, edited and manipulated as if they were on a tablet or large touchscreen.

Fujitsu said it hoped to release a commercial version of the imaging technology in 2014.

The camera and projector forming the system are built into a stand that sits on a tabletop and monitors documents and the fingers of users in front of them. The cameras spot where fingers are placed and uses software to interpret what people want to do to the map, sticky note, photograph or other paper document.

A projector projects virtual buttons on to the tabletop that people can press with a fingertip to start copying or to perform other actions. The projector also illuminates the sections people want to highlight and projects copies of the text or image they want to grab.

Virtual copies of items can be “stored” to one side of the table and then moved around, expanded, shrunk and manipulated by a user. Fujitsu said the system could be useful for helping to organise notes from meetings or research projects.

One key breakthrough, it said, was using cameras offset from each other slightly. This helped them get a much better idea of where fingers were in order to spot accurately what a user wanted to highlight or copy.

Fujitsu said its system could be used as a way to enhance current computer interface systems or, eventually, to replace the keyboard and mouse. Prior attempts to do this, it said, had relied on expensive sensors but its system used off-the-shelf projectors and cameras, even webcams, suggesting any commercial model would be easy to produce.

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