Turn tub water into an interactive screen: thanks, Japan!

August 22, 2013


Bathing with an interactive screen

What do you get when you mix white bathwater with a projector, Kinect, and science in Japan? An interactive screen on the surface of the water, of course.

Although designed as a form of entertainment, the implications of this extend beyond bathtubs and into more expansive arenas, say a pond or pool, making even more surfaces interactive, hooray!

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Koike Laboratory in Tokyo, Japan set out to combine their nation’s love of bathing with a little bit of interactive fun without the risk of dropping your iPad into the water. The “Aquatop” system is a Kinect camera mounted over the tub with a projector, thrown in with waterproof speakers and a small computer.

Dipping your fingers into the water controls your experience, allowing you to swipe through photo albums and videos, or even play games. It is so accurate that fingers can “grab” items on the screen, not just swipe as you’re limited to doing on current flat devices like tablets.

The makers explain further

Koike Laboratory says, “Using the unique characteristics of fluid, we propose new interactions methods specific to the projection medium, water. Our system uses a depth camera to detect input on and over the water surface to allow for interactions such as protruding fingers out from under the water surface and scooping up the water with both hands.”

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“This type of interaction is not capable with current impenetrable, rigid body, flat surfaces,” the company adds. “For example, by floating one’s limbs on the water surface, it is also possible to fuse one’s body with the displayed objects for further augmented interaction by ‘becoming one’ with the screen.”

Will marketers find ways to use water in campaigns with little more than some tech geniuses with a Kinect? Maybe not today, but look for it in a few years for sure!

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