If only the ancient Chinese Had Panasonic's LifeWall, they could have fended off nomadic tribes with HDTV instead of bricks and battlements. But since we live in the future, we can shut out the rest of the world with television that not only stretches from floor to ceiling, it follows people around the room. Panasonic's prototype LifeWall, exhibited at CEATEC outside Tokyo, is a room-sized screen that tracks and remembers users with face recognition, which the firm calls You-Know-Me-TV.
Video you're watching is optimised for size depending on your distance from the wall. And when you walk away, it follows so that you never miss a commercial (Stay-With-Me-TV). IP cameras allow for life-sized videophone conferencing and remote learning. One of the niftiest functions is virtual photo manipulation, like in the cliched movie with Tom Cruise, allowing selection, rotation, zooming and discarding of images by arm motions alone (Easy-Gesture-TV). Panasonic allowed members of the public to try this out at CEATEC. The interface is basically intuitive but takes a fair bit of practice to master (the demo guy also admitted to aching arm muscles, and he's got another five to ten years to go before commercialisation).
The tech uses range imagery sensors and what's called Time of Flight light tracking for real-time 3D image processing. Finally, LifeWall can act as wallpaper or decor, giving the room a new look whenever fancy strikes. Exposed brick, anyone? - Tim Hornyak