Sony has unveiled an Android-powered, standalone projector with a difference: It turns any table into a touch-sensitive interactive display courtesy of an infra-red finger-tracking sensor.
The ability to project an image and track interaction isn’t new: Microsoft has toyed with various projects, including RoomAlive in 2014, which combine Kinect camera technology with off-the-shelf projectors to create interactive projections, while Bluetooth devices which project a functional keyboard onto a table for use with a smartphone or tablet have been around for years. Sony’s Xperia Touch, though, is something a little different: a projector which can create an interactive full-colour image on any table.
Based on the same technology as the aforementioned keyboard projectors, Sony’s Xperia Touch is designed to be standalone. Inside the compact projector is hardware roughly equivalent to an Android tablet or smartphone, linked to an ultra-short-throw projector which is primarily designed to be placed on a table to project its 720p image downwards.
Powered by an internal battery good for an hour’s use and charged via USB Type-C, the Xperia Touch runs Android 7.0 Nougat and is positioned by Sony as the logical successor to voice-only home assistant systems like Amazon’s Echo platform. To that end, the company has promised integration with the Google Home platform, support for Google Assistant, and internal sensors including GPS, magnetic compass, light sensor, room occupancy, and the ability to to measure humidity, temperature, and air pressure.
The only thing Sony has not yet shared is pricing, which the company promises to reveal closer to the device’s launch date later this year.