We've lamented that handheld projectors aren't quite worth toting around just yet. But that could soon change if Disney's research wing manages to get their SideBySide interactive projectors past the prototype stage.
Users point their specially modified and enhanced handheld projector at a flat surface and their projections, whether they be a video game character or a document icon, interact with and are spatially aware of nearby projections. For example, each user could control a boxer and the characters would only take a swing at each other when the projections were moved close enough. Or something as simple as sharing a file between two devices could be made overly visual by dragging a file into a folder.
The concept is novel, but the fact that the technology can be used anywhere, without a special tracking-friendly environment, is what's most intriguing. The handheld projectors actually project both a single colour image that users can see, as well as invisible infrared tracking data that's only visible to a camera mounted atop each device. At the moment the tracking and processing that allows the projections to interact is handled by a laptop both projectors remain tethered to, but eventually those duties could be handed off to the devices themselves as they communicate wirelessly. [SideBySide via Creative Applications]