Skip to content
Technology & Innovation

Turning A Desk Into A Touchscreen, Using A Lamp

By fitting a computer, a camera, and a projector into the spot where the bulb would go, the lamp can display information onto a surface, and recognize and respond to user contact with that surface.

What’s the Latest Development?

Student Natan Linder and his colleagues at MIT’s Media Lab have created a device, the LuminAR, that consists of a wi-fi-connected computer, a camera, and a projector that together fit into a standard light socket like the kind found in a desk lamp. When on, the device projects images onto any surface, and because it can recognize and respond to gestures made on the projection, it basically turns that surface into a touchscreen. The prototype was built using a processor found in smartphones and tablets; the team is experimenting with a modified version of the Android OS.

What’s the Big Idea?

LuminAR is one of many different projects designed to make 3D interfaces more natural as well as more common. Linder believes the device would work well for any design-based occupation that involves paper as well as computers. He and his team have also created a demo in which an imaginary electronics store would have prices and information buttons projected on the table next to their products. Because LuminAR can be screwed into a typical socket, “it has zero cost of adoption,” says Linder.

Photo Credit:


Up Next