Any-Surface Touchscreen Projection: TouchPico Bets on Portability

By September 15, 2014
Surface tactile nomade

There is no longer anything particularly novel about turning your wall, table or any other convenient surface into a touchscreen. However, TouchPico is looking to find a mass market for its crowdfunded, compact, stylus-assisted interactive projection system.

The TouchPico device, which is slightly bigger than a smartphone, allows you to transform any flat surface into an 80-inch touchscreen. This compact projector system has been developed by a team of engineers based in San Francisco, using well-known technology. The stylus contains an embedded infrared camera, providing the signal that converts the chosen projection surface into a touchscreen. Made by Singapore-based company Touchjet, TouchPico works with the Android operating system, opening up a fairly wide range of options. However, compared with devices such as the WorldKit camera-plus-projector system, on which L’Atelier reported last year, TouchPico’s main selling point in terms of the mass market is basically the fact that it is small and fairly light. But there may be a number of obstacles on the horizon.

Portability a unique selling point?

Like any other projector, TouchPico requires a flat surface and needs to be used at a certain distance from the surface that is acting as the screen. These basic constraints might prove a drawback to using the system ‘on the go’. Meanwhile, from a content point of view, the creators have chosen the Android interface, whose current apps are designed for tablets and smartphones. Accordingly, the TouchPico team are calling on software developers to design new apps able to make use of the potential afforded by the new tool. All in all, though, there is nothing very new among the range of functions provided by the device.  Smart touch-whiteboards  are already being used in schools and there are also interactive touchscreen tables already out there. TouchPico’s main advantage is simply that it incorporates these recent innovations into a portable device. The inventors are basically touting the model as something particularly suitable for teaching and for people who regularly make presentations in multiple, not-too-well-equipped venues. So it remains to be seen whether the device will catch on with business people, and how the launch price tag of $500 will be received when the first batch are shipped in October.

Crowdfunding campaign highly successful

Whatever the potential drawbacks, TouchPico has proved to be a model of crowdfunding success. This device is not the latest offering by a specialist multinational which is able to finance a string of new products, but is the fruit of collaboration between a small group of people who came together to focus on an idea and then went to ‘the crowd’ to finance series production and launch. Sure enough, after setting themselves the target of raising $55,000 on the popular crowdfunding site Indiegogo, the TouchPico team have so far received pledges totalling over $710,000. They are now looking for distributors and, given the buzz created by their crowdfunding campaign, they should not have many problems finding interested partners.

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