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.