Sony brought two projectors to SXSW that showcased the future of digital interactivity

Sony wants to transform projectors into a hands-on experience by turning the light they project into a touch screen. At SXSW in Austin, Texas this year, Sony showcased two devices—the T and the other called Xperia Touch—that can transform any flat surface into an interactive screen. The light from the projectors can identify objects underneath them and then project augmented reality images over them while tracking a user's hand movements on the screen.

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Launched by Sony's Future Lab Program, the division showcases the concepts Sony's research and development department has been working on to the public. The first ever prototype the team showcased was N, a hands-free smart device that wraps around a user's neck to serve the same purpose of a smartphone.

The two projectors the Future Lab program presented were slightly different, however. They positioned T overhead a table for users to freely place objects underneath or draw on using their hands. The smaller variation, Xperia Touch, sat on a flat surface projecting a 23-inch touchscreen using an infrared light array on a camera.

When an object goes under the projector's light a user can interact with the object an augmented projection pops up. The user can freely play around with the projection. Such as, during Sony's demo of T, one of the presenters used cylindrical plastic blocks to showoff a music application. The application was able to recognize the cylindrical blocks, with the presenter's hands manipulating them to turn into a classic Beethoven composition they could play.

Another demo Sony presented involved using an Alice in Wonderland book. One example from this demo had the projector highlighting an image of Alice. The presenter pulled the highlighted image away from the book and made an exact replica of Alice. The presenter could freely move the replica Alice across the table, and the image left behind a series of footprints.

Both devices have the same technology and use a modified version of Android, though T has it on a much larger scale. Since the projectors have Android software in them, the touchscreen input controls match what a smartphone uses. Sony plans for a typical consumer to purchase the Xperia Touch, while T remains a prototype the Future Labs Program will continue to work on.

Xperia Touch

Sony wants to transform projectors into a hands-on experience by turning the light they project into a touch screen. At SXSW in Austin, Texas this year, Sony showcased two devices—the T and the other called Xperia Touch—that can transform any flat surface into an interactive screen. The light from the projectors can identify objects underneath them and then project augmented reality images over them while tracking a user's hand movements on the screen.

Launched by Sony's Future Lab Program, the division showcases the concepts Sony's research and development department has been working on to the public. The first ever prototype the team showcased was N, a hands-free smart device that wraps around a user's neck to serve the same purpose of a smartphone.