This smart light is bright in more ways than one

Lampix can transform most flat surfaces into interactive displays.

Lampix

Lampix on display at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco on September 12, 2016. 

Credit: Magdalena Petrova

Lampix may look ordinary, but don't judge this lamp by its shade. Lampix can bring augmented reality to your living room thanks to a built-in Raspberry Pi, an 8-megapixel camera, and a 400-lumen projector. 

Using a WIFI connection, users can send anything from their smartphone or computer to the lamp for projection onto a flat surface of their choosing. The lamp's built-in camera can track objects and body parts and infer their interaction with the surface. For example, in the game "Tower Defense," users can place Nespresso pods in the way of a trail of moving cubes. The Nespresso pods, which here represent towers in the game, can then shoot at the cubes. 

Lampix tower defense Magdalena Petrova

Lampix running the Tower Defense game at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco on September 12, 2016. 

Besides gaming, the company hopes to apply this function to retailers. It has already partnered with Nespresso to allow customers to trigger a description of a particular pod's flavor when it's placed in the indicated area.

George Popescu, the co-founder and CEO of Lampix, says it was important to create a product that could enhance the shopping experience without being obtrusive. 

For example, a store could put a Lampix over a product and display reviews of that product on the counter or on the wall behind it. But users could make the reviews disappear by waving their hands.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of Lampix is that it lets users work with physical pieces of paper as if they were digital documents. Users can copy, paste and upload the contents of the paper, and even search for terms in the hard copy. They can also collaborate with someone else on the same project, since Lampix tracks changes in real time. 

lampix hard copy as digital Lampix

Lampix allows users to interact with physical documents as they would with an electronic copy. 

Of course, using a projector has its disadvantages. Lampix doesn't work well in bright light, on really shiny surfaces, or on glass. The company says it plans to make a more expensive model with a more powerful projector that will allow Lampix to work in bright light.  

Lampix is expected to begin shipping in the fall of 2017 for around $300. It will come with a few applications and an API (application programming interface) so developers can use Lampix in their own applications. 

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