It can be a bit of a task at times getting your mobile phone out of your pocket, turning it on and sometimes just for one text.
How about having your mail and texts at the tip of your fingers – quite literally? That is the idea behind new technology called AMP-D or Ambient Pervasive Display.
It will allow you to show digital information on any surface – even your hand. It also forms a continuous interaction space that is controlled by hand gestures.
It has been developed by researchers at Ulm University in Germany.
“The idea with this device is not to keep on spreading new displays, but to use what exists already which is the world around us. And to use the palm of our hand that we always have with us as a display surface,” explained Christian Winkler, who is head of the project.
A Kinect-style 3D sensor helps the projector continually adjust its focal length allowing users to change surfaces without having to wait for it to re-focus.
The sensors recognise gestures such as a hand swipe so you never need to touch your phone. Images are projected directly onto your hands.
The technology is all a bit ungainly at the moment – remember the first big clunky mobile phones – but the team is aiming to reduce its size.
“The trend we have seen in the past three years is that the light strength of those ‘pico-projectors’ has become three times better. The battery technology is also improving which leads to the assumption, that in three or four years we will have a wearable device small enough to be worn around your neck or clipped to your pocket, that will be compact and still have enough brightness for inside use,” said Winkler.
The team thinks the system will be especially useful in navigation and interacting while walking, projecting arrows on the ground and for location-award adverts.
They are off to Toronto next month to show their prototype at the annual interaction conference.