updated 10:20 am EDT, Thu October 8, 2009
Funai Eco Projector recognizes touch inputs
Funai and Nippon Signal have developed a small color laser projector that is capable of recognizing finger movements on the image it creates on a wall or screen. The device is currently on display at the CEATEC show in Japan, where users can rotate, enlarge and replace a projected image just by manipulating their finger on it. Funai used Nippon's Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) scanner to make the prototype.
Nippon's technology uses an RGB laser light that is scanned by a two-axis MEMS mirror to project a color image. It operates in the same basic way as conventional projectors, but a new sensor was integrated. It gauges the intensity of light in each part of the image, and when a finger reduces this intensity, the laser light is cut off and the sensor recognizes this. Placing the sensor in other locations than at the head of the lens will allow it to recognize a finger in mid-air, rather than just on the surface of the screen.
Funai says it is possible to make a production version of its prototype sometime in 2010. It views it as a viable alternative for expensive touch panels in various tasks, particularly where large screens would be necessary. [via Tech-On]