While everyone’s busy applauding the new iPhone 4S and frantically trying to download iOS 5, Microsoft Research and Carnegie Mellon University have casually dropped this little bomb into the mobile computer market. It’s a wearable device that can turn any surface into a multitouch screen. It doesn’t have the artful design of Apple products, but who cares when it means you can turn a human face into a graphical interface.
By using a depth-sensing camera OmniTouch can track your fingers while projecting a display onto any arbitrary surface—wall, desktop, the human body, book, cat—using a laser-based mobile projector.
As wearable tech goes, it’s not the most attractive-looking piece of technology, and you might get some strange looks as you walk down the street with this device parroted on your shoulder like a futuristic Long John Silver, but it’ll only become more refined in time. And it could mean we wave goodbye to smartphones altogether.
You can read more about the technology on Chris Harrison’s website—he, along with Andy Wilson and Hrvoje Benko, are the authors of the work. It’s further evidence that digital space is leaving the confines of the monitor—handheld or otherwise—and encroaching on the physical world.