Intel researchers are working on a new way to display photos and videos, making them more social and collaborative.
"It's about being able to display images of any type on any surface," said Manny Vara, senior technology evangelist for Intel. "It changes the way we interact with things. It makes our images more interactive."
Vara demonstrated the project, dubbed Display without Borders, with a laptop, a Microsoft Connect sensor and a projector. Intel didn't give a timeframe for when the technology might go to market..
With the flick of a finger, pictures and video can be seamlessly moved from the computer to most any smooth surface - a bowl, a tabletop or a wall. Then with other touches, the images can be rearranged, enlarged or made smaller. With a tap, the videos will even begin to play.
The sensors, Vara explained, pick up the motion of the user's hand and turn the touches into directions. More sensors offer better tracking. "It knows when you grab a photo and it knows if it's going left or right," he added.
Eventually, users won't even have to touch the image of the photos or video to move them or activate them, Vara said. Instead, it will be done by gesture.
While he would expect the technology to be used in the home to show photos and video, Vara also said he envisions it being a useful technology in the enterprise, enabling workers to more easily collaborate in a meeting, for instance.
Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said he can see this kind of technology being installed in a lot of offices.
"It should be pretty helpful... any time there's a working-together meeting," he added. "I'm not as impressed with moving them from screen to wall as I am with a capable common work area... This isn't a big piece of business, but if it's good, they'll have them in a lot of conference rooms."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.