From: Liz Stinson, Wired
Published April 6, 2017 08:56 AM

Lightform: The Magical Little Device That Transforms Whole Rooms Into Screens

Technology wants to disappear. In computing’s early days, the machines swallowed entire rooms. Today, we wear them on our wrists. Soon, they could vanish completely, their smarts embedding directly into our surroundings.

Raj Sodhi has a name for this last scenario. “We call it the ubiquitous user interface,” he says. Sodhi is a co-founder of Lightform, a startup that’s looking to turn full-room projection mapping into living room technology. Projection mapping, also known as projected augmented reality, uses video projectors to cast light onto irregular surfaces like buildings, faces, and, yes, living rooms. For decades, this technology was too expensive and technically complex for the average person to use, but with Lightform, the company’s eponymous first product, Sodhi and his partners are automating the entire process. The company plans to begin taking preorders on the device this summer, price TBD.

Lightform doesn’t look like a computer, but that’s what it is. The small box contains a processor and a high-res camera. Hook it up to any projector through an HDMI cable, and the projector will cast a series of grids onto the room, which Lightform’s onboard camera uses to assess, in fine detail, the location and dimension of objects in the space. (Lightform can also scan the room periodically, allowing it to create a new map if anything moves.) The processor converts that information into a 3-D map of surfaces onto which the projector can cast light. “Having a high resolution scan means that every projector pixel has a corresponding real world location,” Sodhi explains.

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