Disney researches ahead of others
A historic type of Japanese theatre has been used as an inspiration for the US corporate giant Disney Group in the process of making a new concept in cellphone content. As in traditional Japanese Utsushi-e theatre, where light from lanterns was used to project stories and images onto the screens of rice paper, this basic concept will be used to make the content more visible. This technology already exists in many phones sold in Korea and Japan that have “pico” projectors, which is handy for catching a film on a wall or any other large surface.
With Karl Willis and Ivan Poupyrev from the labs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Disney seems to be ahead of others and is in a process of developing applications for smartphones, which already have been presented at the CHI 2011 conference in Vancouver. With the MotionBeam project these hand-held projectors are used to interact and control projected characters in games played onto a flat surface. So, in one of the first games, player controls a small yellow character to collect the stars. The player leads the figures by gesturing with the hand-held projector as if he’s having torch, and in that way the user interacts with the game.
An iPod Touch, a laser projector and microcontroller-sensor unit were used in the prototype. An accelerometer and gyroscope help to detect the smartphone’s movements, and an ultrasonic distance sensor is used to figure out the distance between the projector and viewing surface, in order to adjust it accordingly.