Fujitsu, the world’s third largest IT products and services provider, is taking a new approach in the endeavor to bridge the gap between the digital and analog worlds by developing a user interface that allows for direct digital interaction with physical items like paper. FingerLink effectively turns whatever surface it’s on into a touchscreen and allows the user to select and digitize elements of any documents in its range using only your fingertips.
Consisting of a fairly standard projector and a low-res webcam, the technology superimposes an interactive skin on the surface in front of it by first mapping out the area and measuring the borders of real world objects, such as a book, or several individual notes. FingerLink is then able to detect individual fingers, allowing the user to trace across the document and perform a variety of actions like selecting images or copying text.
Outside of print, it’s not clear what kind of applications FingerLink would have with other types of physical items, but the company does suggest that perhaps there are potential future applications when used in conjunction with gesture-controled technology or possibly with other interactive touchscreen display systems.
Until now, this type of enhanced user experience has required special sensors embedded into objects which made any mainstream application impractical. Fujitsu was able to simplify the process, making FingerLink an entirely commercially viable endeavor that it hopes to bring to market sometime in 2014.
The video below, from DigInfo News, shows the technology in action: