Displays and Interactive Images

By M. David Stone  |  Posted 2008-07-23 Print this article Print

9. Interactive Images

Ultrashort throws open up a range of new applications for projectors. Hitachi, for example, pairs an ultrashort-throw projector with a touch-screen whiteboard, to give you a touch-screen interface with the ability to select menu options, draw lines by hand, and even handwrite comments. In principle, the whiteboard will work with any projector, since the interactive features are all handled by the whiteboard and its software. But only an ultrashort-throw projector will let you use the interactive features without casting annoying shadows.

10. Tabletop Image: Rear Projection

Another innovative use for an ultrashort throw is to project an image onto a tabletop. Picture a group of people sitting or standing around a table and discussing, say, a new product design, while looking at drawings laid out on the table. Now substitute a rear projection screen for the tabletop, with an ultrashort-throw projector mounted under the table and projecting the image up, onto the tabletop screen. Using projected images opens up possibilities, such as the potential to interactively rotate 3D images to get a better view, or show full motion video.

11. Tabletop Image: Front Projection

For projectors with a short enough throw, you can get much the same tabletop image if you stand (or permanently mount) the projector vertically on the table, facing down, so it projects its image directly on the tabletop. Put a touch-screen whiteboard on the tabletop, and you can even interact with the image directly.

12. Down and Dirty (On the Floor)

One last innovative possibility for ultrashort-throw projectors is projecting an image on the floor. Mount the projector in a safe place, next to or on a wall, for example, and point it down to project the image on the floor. This particular application is more appropriate for, say, a museum exhibit than for typical corporate use. (Although, a floorshow of company products on the reception room floor is a potentially eye-catching possibility). But it's worth keeping the idea in the back of your mind, should you ever notice an opportunity to use it.



M. David Stone is an award-winning freelance writer and computer industry consultant with special areas of expertise in imaging technologies (including printers, monitors, large-screen displays, projectors, scanners, and digital cameras), storage (both magnetic and optical), and word processing. His 25 years of experience in writing about science and technology includes a nearly 20-year concentration on PC hardware and software. He also has a proven track record of making technical issues easy for non-technical readers to understand, while holding the interest of more knowledgeable readers. Writing credits include eight computer-related books, major contributions to four others, and more than 2,000 articles in national and worldwide computer and general interest publications. His two most recent books are The Underground Guide to Color Printers (Addison-Wesley, 1996) and Troubleshooting Your PC, (Microsoft Press, 2000, with co-author Alfred Poor).

Much of David's current writing is for PC Magazine, where he has been a frequent contributor since 1983 and a contributing editor since 1987. His work includes feature articles, special projects, reviews, and both hardware and software solutions for PC Magazine's Solutions columns. He also contributes to other magazines, including Wired. As Computers Editor at Science Digest from 1984 until the magazine stopped publication, he wrote both a monthly column and additional articles. His newspaper column on computers appeared in the Newark Star Ledger from 1995 through 1997.

Non-computer-related work includes the Project Data Book for NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (written for GE's Astro-Space Division), and magazine articles and AV productions on subjects ranging from cosmology to ape language experiments. David also develops and writes testing scripts for leading computer magazines, including PC Magazine's PC Labs. His scripts have covered a wide range of subjects, including computers, scanners, printers, modems, word processors, fax modems, and communications software. He lives just outside of New York City, and considers himself a New Yorker at heart.


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