UK & World News

  • 20 April 2014, 4:38

Fog Screens Could Herald Gadget Revolution

Developers at Bristol University have invented what could be the future of interactive computing, involving fog screens.

It is believed to be the first time touch screens, made from fog and showing images in 3D or 2D, have been made to work with a tabletop device.

MisTable is led by Professor Sriram Subramanian and Dr Diego Martinez from the university's Department of Computer Science.

Their invention lets users switch from interacting on a personal fog screen, to "reaching through" it and interacting together on the touch screen tabletop, or the space above it.

Sriram Subramanian, professor of Human-Computer Interaction, in the university's Bristol Interaction and Graphics group, said: "MisTable broadens the potential of conventional tables in many novel and unique ways.

"The personal screen provides direct line of sight and access to the different interaction spaces. 

"Users can be aware of each other's actions and can easily switch between interacting with the personal screen to the tabletop surface or the interaction section.

"This allows users to break in or out of shared tasks and switch between individual and group work."

The personal screens, which work using projectors and mist, have been around for about 10 years, but their use with tabletop touch screens in 3D and 2D is believed to be new.

The team's research paper on MisTable is to be presented at one of the world's most important conferences on human-computer interfaces being held in Toronto from April 26 to May 1.

The invention is believed to have the potential to eventually change the way people interact and collaborate in the future.

If MisTable is developed further, there is a possibility it could be available commercially after five years.

Dr Martinez, who helped lead the project, said it could be used as an educational tool in schools, in boardrooms, and in the gaming world.

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