Technology companies have shown a strong interest in giving projectors a much needed upgrade by giving them projection mapping and turning them into interactive displays, such as the Sony Xperia Touch shown at this year’s SXSW. While the Xperia Touch allows users to treat the device’s projection like an interactive display, creatives who previously worked for Microsoft, Adobe, and Disney have teamed up to create the Lightform, a small box that plugs in to any readily available projector. When the projector scans the room, the device covers objects with animated textures and digital images.
The team behind Lightform have an extensive history with working on bringing projection mapping to a living room. Some of the projects they worked on include Illumiroom, a device that projected images from a television to have them stretch across a wall, and RoomAlive, a projector that turned any space into an interactive holodeck. While the designers have worked with interactive projectors in the past, Lightform was not designed to have an interactive display.
Instead, the design team simplified the system to make it more accessible to all users. Lightform doesn’t require an advanced computer system to operate, only needing what’s installed in the box itself and the projector attached to it. Brett Jones, previously a lead researcher on Microsft Illumiroom and now cofounder of Lightform, assures customers can use the device if they can use other image editing software, like Photoshop.
Although the designers have released limited information about Lightform, more announcements will arrive once the device hits the market this summer. What they have shared, however, is that the Lightform maps a room using a high resolution camera managed by an AI to calculate the room’s details and geometry in under a minute. The AI also has enough power to recognize when a user moves and places a new object in the room.
After the AI has taken in the room’s geometry, it can paint multiple different images all over the space. Users can implement a massive screen on one wall for a movie night and the Lightform will display the image over the wall, including anything in its way, such as bookshelves, desks and tables, to create one uniform image. The device works the same way an MIDI controller does during concerts, which it could replace in the future.
Lightform has a preorder page on its website for users interested in receiving notifications on the developer’s progress and is slated for release in summer 2017.