Positive projections

In an interactive world, life can often be dictated by the touch of a button - but with a touchscreen image projector, that button can be any surface at all.

The Light Touch, the first product from Cambridge-based company Light Blue Optics, is a small projector that creates touch-screen images of up to 10 inches square on any accommodating surface. Users control the projector and interact with multimedia content and applications simply by touching the projected image.

Light Blue Optics points out that virtual touchscreens have a number of obvious key advantages over the conventional variety. The display is projected, making it spill-proof, fingerprint resistant and as easy to clean as a regular table top. There’s also no actual touchscreen to break.

The product uses Holographic Laser Projection which creates bright, high-quality video images in WVGA resolution. Integrated infrared sensors detect motion and turn the projected image into a virtual touch screen.

But the Light Touch isn’t intended as a replacement for PC monitors, and its makers aren’t aiming to overthrow the desktop computer. ‘We’re looking to bring a consumer electronics multimedia experience to completely new environments where conventional touchscreens aren’t suitable or desirable,’ enthuses Tamara Roukaerts, director of marketing communications for the company.

Such markets include consumer electronics, automotive, retail and the restaurant industry, where the product can be used to display interactive menus on dining tables. It also comes in handy for pathogen-resistant keyboards in hospitals and easy to clean virtual touchscreens in the kitchen for watching cooking programmes, browsing recipes and purchasing groceries online.

Over the past five years, Light Blue Optics has raised $40 million from VC investors, demonstrating their faith in the product. Positive projections indeed.

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