The Omni-Touch Can Make Any Surface an Interactive One

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a system for making any surface interactive. The Omni-Touch consists of a shoulder mounted depth camera and a short-throw pico projector. The depth camera can sense whether an object, in this case a finger, is hovering over or touching a surface. This allows for an intuitive interface to be projected on any surface in front of the user. 

The system allows for multiple inputs at the same time, allowing for things like pinch-to-zoom and multiple input gestures. What’s even more impressive is that the system can present one application and interface on a single surface and simultaneously poject another separate application on an entirely different surface. So you could say, open your to-do list on a notepad, see that you are supposed to be on a conference call in a few minutes, and then open up your phone app on your hand to dial-in.

I love seeing nifty tech experiments like this. Of course this has a long way to go before it could be commercially viable, and it may never actually make it to market, but new and innovative concepts are what drive the tech industry. Also I’d be pretty psyched to get to wear something like this. :)

Let me know what you guys think about this in the comments!


  1. Anshul says

    This is very similar to the Sixth Sense that was demonstrated by Pranav Mistry of MIT couple of years ago. He used a simple phone camera for this purpose. However, the novelty of this experiment seems to be sensing the finger hovering around a area. Pranav’s experiment used a marker

  2. Dennis Gerson says

    Reminds me of the IBM Everywhere Display prototype for solid surfaces. The technology never really took off in the market place. Great article, I hope this approach from CMU pans out.