Last week’s CES trade show was full of weird and unlikely inventions. But some of them point at directions in tech that could bear fruit. Take this Sony Xperia Projector prototype. The consumer benefits aren’t immediately clear – but media artists may see the perfect self-contained interactive installation.

The Verge gets a hands-on with the device:

Basically, it’s three technologies in one. It’s a pico projector, and those may continue to improve as LED tech scales. It’s an Android mobile gadget – and unlike iOS, Android has the benefit of being to run on any device imaginable as a general purpose embedded solution.

And it’s an interactive gestural … uh … thing. It’s hard to know what to call it, actually. Multi-touch isn’t the right word, because you don’t actually touch anything.

Indeed, it’s a reminder of the potential of infrared sensing. Years ago, my very first interactive / creative coding experience was with Flash and simple Sharp IR range sensors – as this was the tech of choice long before the debut of things like Kinect. And while infrared requires line of sight (as seen in the video), it’s pretty predictable.

Put them together, though, and you get a projector that lets you run and interact with apps anywhere. In fat, it’d be perfect for installations, except that it isn’t as easy as it should be to lock down Android into presentation mode. (Cough.)

I can also imagine some creative music apps.

But I have to differ with the reviewer here. I’d love one of these round the house or in a backpack. And even if the Sony device here doesn’t make it to market, it’d be possible to whip up a similar combination of technology as DIY solution.

Seen anything else interesting in creative technology at CES? Give us a shout. We’re always up for off-center thinking.

  • Brent Williams

    This would be desirable for me if it had the ability to output video to a higher lumen projector or even just an LED display as well as the ability to use its gestural sensor on something other than a tabletop. A small, standalone processor with an embedded, easily configurable gestural sensor would be very tempting to me. As it stands it is cool tech that I doubt will get used much.

    • Well, it’s a prototype – I imagine they’re hunting around a bit to figure out what product form it would take.

    • Polite Society

      Yeah, that brightness really is the key.

  • Dubby Labby

    It reminds me about John Lee wiimote whiteboard, lately kinect.
    It will be useful as standalone sensor with standard protocol to plug into everything, even apple ecosystem.

  • Markus Girrulat

    5 years ago i worked in an innovation hub. I saw a prototype of something similar, but in a smart phone. At that time the phone was very heavy and the projector wasnt safe for your eyes… but imagine to have a smartphone with a small screen, but if you want (and the room is dark enough) you can project a monitor-size interface on your table. Thats future :-))