On a busy day at work, remember the countless times you have had to leave your office cubicle and make your way to the conference room to attend a PowerPoint presentation? And how often do presenters stand in front of the projector completely obstructing the material that is on the slide?
Imagine, now, what it would be like, if you could arrange to screen presentations right inside your cubicle, using the multi-planar cubicle walls as a display surface. Or watch an enlarged display of the Euro Cup final live on the corner wall of “As technology advances, the craving for larger and better displays, and intuitive natural interaction to derive a fulfilling experience from display technologies, only increases” says Shamsuddin N Ladha, a Research Scholar at the IITB-Monash Research Academy. Ladha is working on a project, titled ‘Visually Appealing and Intelligent Projection with Natural Interaction on Ad hoc Surfaces’ under the guidance of Professor Sharat Chandran from IIT, Bombay and Professor Kate Smith-Miles from Monash University.
Ladha readily admits that hardware-based solutions are already available for projection onto very complex display surfaces. The problem, he says, is that the costs are prohibitive, making these solutions useful only for high-end deployment; not for general purposes. Projecting images onto non-planar irregular surfaces without distortion is incredibly difficult, and requires sophisticated mathematical models. Ladha, therefore, has been working on a holistic approach to improve projection quality, both visual and interactive, on common surfaces, using off-the-shelf components and software.
What did Ladha do that is novel?
“The novelty is that we have a better way to make appealing and intelligent projection with support for natural interaction on ad hoc surfaces,” he says.
So, how far are researchers like him from bringing larger displays with natural interaction capabilities within the reach of the masses? Not very, says Ladha, who is working in three specific areas:
First, by creating visually appealing projection on common ad hoc non-projection ready surfaces like room corners and ubiquitous office cubicles. These will eliminate the requirement of large single planar real estate for projection.
Second, by providing a novel natural interaction interface with the projector using gestures and a new paradigm of sensor-on-activity, and
Third, by enhancing presentation with the projector experience by adding intelligence to projectors.
The IITB-Monash Research Academy, also known as the Academy, is a graduate research school located in Mumbai, India. It opened in 2008 as a joint venture between the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Monash University. Students of the Academy study for a dual PhD from both institutions, spending time in both India and Australia, with supervisors from both IITB and Monash. The establishment of the Academy marks the first time that an Australian university has set up an extensive physical presence of this kind and scale in India.
Ladha is also excited with the uses his research can be put to in the gaming domain, through what is called Natural Interaction Capability. This, he explains, is the ability to interact with computers using actions that are common to and easily understood by humans. “For instance, instead of shooting with a mouse or keyboard in a shooting game, it is natural to aim (action) and shoot. This kind of natural interaction can be achieved using our sensor-on-activity paradigm,” he says. “This will help people derive richer and better experiences in virtual environments, and also make these environments accessible to people who are not proficient in using keyboard/mouse for interaction.”
Ladha says he finds the research process humbling. “My work will help reduce the deployment cost of projection, and, hopefully, make projection technologies available to a wide spectrum of people. Further, with natural interaction, mankind can have better interaction, and derive richer experience from display technologies.”
So when, in the not-so-distant future, you are able to screen PowerPoint presentations on your office cubicle wall, or watch the latest episode of Master Chef king-size on the wall of your drawing room, or when you notice tha the presentation has automatically moved to one corner of the screen when the presenter obstructs the on-screen material, do remember to raise a toast to Shamsuddin Ladha and his tribe.
Research scholar: Shamsuddin N Ladha, IITB-Monash Research Academy
Project title: Visually Appealing and Intelligent Projection with Natural Interaction on Ad hoc Surfaces
Supervisors: Professor Sharat Chandran, IIT Bombay and Professor Kate Smith-Miles, Monash University
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
The above story was written by Mr Krishna Warrier based on inputs from the research student and IITB-Monash Research Academy. Copyright IITB-Monash Research Academy.