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'Virtual projection' blends AR and motion tracking technique for remote control screen sharing

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Researchers at the University of Calgary are using smartphone cameras and wireless connectivity to virtually throw an image from a smartphone onto a second screen.

virtual projection boring baur
virtual projection boring baur

You know how a standard Nintendo Wii remote works, right? In addition to an accelerometer, there's a set of infrared LEDs in front of your TV, and a camera inside the remote which tracks your position relative to the lights. Now, imagine substituting a smartphone for your Wii remote, and instead of just transmitting position, you beam your phone's screen to the monitor as well. That's what "virtual projection" is all about.

Researchers at the University of Calgary discovered that not only can a smartphone camera and a standard computer screen substitute for an infrared setup, but that they could transmit images from the phone and manipulate them, too. Move or rotate the phone, and the image on the big screen moves likewise with only a slight delay. It feels a little bit like a projector, we suppose, because when you hold your phone up in front of a screen, you're "projecting" the image onto the surface. However, since the phone and image aren't physically connected by a beam of light, there are some serious advantages to the technique. You can decouple the phone from the image and begin manipulating other things a la augmented reality, or theoretically invite other people to connect their phones for a collaborative working environment. The proof-of-concept looks a little slow and cumbersome, but that doesn't make it any less cool. Get a glimpse for yourself in the video above.