Lightbulb Turns Desk Into A Touchscreen

Imagine turning the top of your desk into a touchscreen. Sounds like something you’d just read about or see in a sci-fi flick, right? Thanks to MIT student Nathan Linder such a concept is now reality. Linder has designed a device that turns any flat surface, such as a table or desk, into a touchscreen.

MIT Technology Review reports the LuminAR device is capable of projecting interactive images onto a surface that can sense a person’s touch. Linder describes his system as an augmented-reality system since the images projected can actually alter the function of the object.

The bulb combines a projector, camera and wireless computer into a compact form that can be screwed into any standard light fixture. The LuminAR lamp consists of a robotic arm designed to interface with the LuminAR bulb. The device uses specialized software and connects to the Internet using Wi-Fi. Some of the prototype’s functions rely on software that uses a remote cloud server.

Linder sees LuminAR being used to create an additional display on a surface, perhaps related information to the task being performed on a computer. It could also be used to take a photo of an object or printed documents before emailing them.

I’m really excited by the way this would be used by engineers or designers,” Linder told the Technology Review, adding he believes it could be useful for any creative occupation that works with paper and other tangible objects in addition to computers.

Although early designs included a motorized arm for the lamp, researchers are currently placing focus on tweaking the bulb, which costs less to implement.

It has zero cost of adoption,” Linder told the Technology Review. “You just change the bulb in your lamp.

[Image via MIT Review]