Ubi: The new Windows 8 Kinect app turns any surface touchscreen
A new technology that will turn any surface into a touchscreen with the help of a PC, a projector and Microsoft Kinect has come out of beta and up for pre-order.
Created by Ubi Interactive and a part of Microsoft's Kinect accelerator programme, the new system, which the company has demoed to Pocket-lint in Seattle, should be available in the very near future (think weeks rather than months).
The software, called Ubi, runs on Windows 8, and will let anyone quickly turn any dull wall into something a lot more interactive.
"All devices have touchscreen displays," explained Anup Chathoth, the company's co-founder, to Pocket-lint. "This lets you turn any surface into a touchscreen."
But rather than force developers to create specific versions of their software to benefit from the new features the software offers, the Ubi software taps into Windows 8 at a core level, outputting whatever is on your screen and works with any app that is a touch-optimised Windows 8 or desktop app.
Set-up is easy, there is virtually no calibration required, and it works on all surfaces whether they are flat or not, Chathoth tells us.
According to Chathoth, all the software needs is to be able to see the projected screen and the software works out the rest.
The technology works by using the Kinect's depth and tracking sensors, although not the device's skeleton detection system used by Microsoft in its Kinect-enabled games - it's not good enough - and then working out where you are in relation to the projection.
In our demo we were shown how users would be able to swipe their way through a PowerPoint presentation, surf the web, or pinch to zoom on Bing maps, all with gesture movements already used by Windows 8.
Priced to appeal to all parties, the company is offering a number of different price points to appeal to the different types of customers it hopes to attract.
For $149 (£98) users will get support for one-finger support version - dubbed "touch points" - the ability to project on a display up to 45-inches, and free updates for a year.
A two-finger support version of the software for those who want to be able to pinch to zoom (two touch points) will however suddenly jump to $799, while those wanting to blow the budget and get the software to support up to 20 touch points will have to pay $1,499.
And the company isn't stopping there, telling Pocket-lint that it is already working on adding new features and developing the product further to include greater gesture support.
Because the Kinect sensor helps the software understand where you are in relation to the projection, Chathoth tells Pocket-lint future developments could detect your hand movements with greater precision allowing you to zoom in simply by moving your hand towards the projection.