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Turn Your Bathtub Into a Tablet

Sections: Projectors, TVs, Video

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Projector bathInstead of risking your expensive electronics around their aqueous mortal enemy, what if you could project the interface and all the content of your iPad, Microsoft Surface, or Android tablet onto the surface of your bathtub, a fountain, or any other surface of opaque water? Scientists at the University of Tokyo demonstrate their concept, by way of IEEE Spectrum:

Unlike your typical touchscreen, the user doesn’t just have control from above the screen’s surface. It’s designed so that you can feel like a part of the screen. Because the touch-sensing area extends a few centimeters below the water’s surface, the system responds to a variety of commands including scooping water, waving your arm across the water, “pulling” images underwater to delete them and “clicking” with one, two or three fingers from both above and below the surface.

So how does it all work? Adding bath salts to the water (something the Japanese do on a regular basis) adds opacity that the Microsoft Kinect can latch onto visually to detect motion in the water, as well as giving a projector a surface on which to create its image. In addition, fingers sticking up above the surface gain enough contrast for the device to tell whether they’re up or down.

As cool as this tech is, I can’t help think that mounting a flat touchscreen with gesture control in a waterproof housing right on the edge of the bathtub might be a far easier and more satisfying solution. And that’s speaking as someone who is as enthusiastic about hot springs as any native Japanese person. Still, though; you have to admit that this is impressive. Whether or not it manages to work on the larger scale remains to be seen, but it’s definitely yet another great use of Kinect for non-gaming purposes.

Via: [IEEE Spectrum]

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