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Sony ‘Interactive Tabletop’ prototype brings books to life

Sony has been showing off an intriguing prototype of an interactive projector.

The Japanese tech giant announced its new Future Lab Program earlier in the month, which will green-light experimental projects based on user feedback.

One of those experimental projects has been on display at SXSW in Austin, Texas (via The Verge). The Interactive Tabletop is a projector that can effectively turn any flat surface into a fully interactive, contextually aware touchscreen device.

Utilising depth sensors and motion tracking technology, the projector detects objects on a tabletop – including the user’s hands – and responds accordingly. This can be used to bring storybooks to life (Sony is using Alice in Wonderland in its demo), highlighting portions of text and allowing you to drag images from the page onto the surface where they will then be animated.

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Of course, such interactive projector technology is nothing new – we’ve all seen those fish tanks projected onto shopping mall floors where the fish seem to respond to your foot location. But Sony’s approach seems to be a lot more sophisticated, with a touch of Microsoft’s all-but-abandoned Kinect technology about it – plus a sprinkling of AR magic.

Sony has also been showing off the Concept N headset it teased alongside the Future Lab Program announcement. This is a Bluetooth audio device that sits around a user’s neck, using multi-directional speakers to direct sound towards your ears. It means that a user won’t be blocked off from environmental sounds whilst walking around a busy city.

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