Researchers combine Kinect and bathtub to create ‘immersive’ gaming surface

[From The Escapist, where the story includes a 2:17 minute video; a 0:57 BBC News report is available here, an 8:51 minute video is here, and the AquaTop Display web site is here]

AquaTop Display

Researchers Combine a Kinect and a Bathtub to Create a Gaming Surface

Using the Microsoft Kinect, a projector, and a bath, several Japanese researchers have created an interactive display surface.

Josh Engen | 29 November 2013

Several researchers from the Koike Laboratory at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo have created an interactive surface by combining a Kinect with a small basin of water.

Aside from being a little strange, the surface is surprisingly useful. Researchers have managed to create a fairly robust library of gestures, which means that the AquaTop Display can already be used to control basic computing functions and play a specially designed game that features a rubber ducky.

The AquaTop Display is more than just a novelty, though. The folks who invented the device did so in order to explore the interaction between technology and water. “The goal of the AquaTop Display,” reads the Koike website, “was to remove the risk of electronics in a wet environment (smartphones in the bath) whilst innovating new techniques for interaction with challenging materials such as water.”

According to the team, inspiration for the project came from the realization that commercialized bath salts could be used to create a milky cloud in a water basin. Once the salts have been added, the liquid works as a projection surface.

The project is already attracting a lot of international attention. The Koike team has shown the AquaTop Display at several Japanese Technology Expos, and the BBC covered the story this week. And even though I don’t see a lot of real-world application for this kind of technology, it’s definitely interesting.

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