The University of Bristol has made a computer display from a curtain of mist, which allows users to reach through fog screens and move images around with their hands.
Due to be unveiled later this month, the "MisTable" technology was shown off in a video embedded below. The invention includes a conventional interactive table with personal screens made using fog, Kinect and a Leap Motion Controller.
Professor Sriram Subramanian and Dr Diego Martinez Plasencia from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science, who are leading the research, claim that the development could change the way people interact and collaborate in the future.
"These personal screens are both see-through and reach-through. The see-through feature provides direct line of sight of the personal screen and the elements behind it on the tabletop," the university said on its website. "The reach-through feature allows the user to switch from interacting with the personal screen to reaching through it to interact with the tabletop or the space above it."
The personal screen allows a range of customisations and novel interactions such as presenting personal 2D content on the screen, 3D content above the tabletop, or supplementing and renewing actual objects differently for each user.
"MisTable broadens the potential of conventional tables in many novel and unique ways. The personal screen provides direct line of sight and access to the different interaction spaces," said Subramanian.
"Users can be aware of each other's actions and can easily switch between interacting with the personal screen to the tabletop surface or the interaction section. This allows users to break in or out of shared tasks and switch between 'individual' and 'group' work."
Subramanian noted that users can also move content freely between these interaction spaces, allowing them to share it with others or to get exclusive ownership over it. Having personal screens allows each user to customise their own view.
Written by Lee Bell
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