Ubi brings touchscreen functionality to any projection surface
By Ben Coxworth
August 19, 2013
If you’re someone who does a lot of presentations in front of images projected onto a wall, do you ever wish that you could manipulate those images with your fingers? If so, well, now you can. Ubi is a new piece of software that works with a video projector, a Kinect for Windows depth sensor and a PC running Windows 8, to turn any projection surface into a touchscreen.
Ubi (not to be confused with the computer of the same name) runs on a PC that’s supplying the projected video, and monitors the projected image via the linked Kinect. Apparently any projector and any surface (such as a table top) will do, as long as the image is sufficiently bright.
When it registers your finger or hand reaching into the frame, Ubi simply mimics that same movement as if it was a finger movement on the corresponding part of the computer’s screen – for example, if you reach in and physically swipe at a specific box that's projected onto the wall, Ubi will digitally “swipe” that same box on the computer, causing its projected image to move with your hand.
Ubi was developed by Seattle-based startup Ubi Interactive, for Microsoft. It is available now, in four versions. The Basic program, which allows for one finger-only touch point and a projected image up to 45 inches (114 cm) in size, sells for US$149 per PC. At the other end of the scale, the Enterprise version supports up to 20 finger or hand touch points and a 100-inch (254 cm) display, and goes for $1,499.
The Ubi system is demonstrated in the video below.