Turning Your Bathtub Into A Gaming Platform
A team from Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications has created a system that creates an interactive surface from a tub of opaque water, basically "[taking] immersive entertainment to a whole new level."
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Researchers from Koike Laborartory at Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications have come up with an ingenious alternative to bringing a tablet or smartphone into the bathtub: Their AquaTop Display combines a projector, a Microsoft Kinect depth camera, and a computer to create a system that turns a tub full of water into a truly unique interface. The key is to make the water milky white -- and thus an ideal projection surface -- using special bath salts. The camera tracks the movement of fingers both above and below the water, allowing for actions such as deleting images from the surface by "grabbing" them from below and pulling them under. To add to the experience, the tub contains built-in waterproof speakers and LEDs.
What's the Big Idea?
A prototype demonstration video shows a tub that's only big enough for a small child to bathe in, but the entertainment potential for larger enclosures could be huge. For now, the team only sought to show the benefits of a platform that brings the action closer to the user and takes advantage of natural interface motions that are impossible with standard computers and touchscreen displays.
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