Research platform turns any home surface into a screen

A San-Francisco projection mapping company has launched Project LFX, a research platform for steerable projected interfaces, turning anything within the home into a display.

Reimagining the future of the smart home, Lightform has created three different design concepts: a ceiling-mounted light fixture and two table-top lamps. Each device contains a projector for display, cameras for 3D scanning and people tracking, and a combination of mirrors and motors to steer around the space.

The steerable projection allows displays to be projected anywhere around the room, with the steerable interface following the homeowner’s movements around the space and projecting to the nearest surface.

And it’s not just surfaces as in tabletops and walls; devices such as TVs, speakers, and even wall art can be mapped for projection to turn the room into a nightclub with sound-reactive lights for example. Additionally, it allows users to bring a character out of the TV and into the living room to interact with physical objects.

Project LFX, described as being ‘the magic of an AR headset, without a pound of magic on your face’, is the result of the company’s belief that lighting and projection are merging, with advancements in LED and laser light engines enabling projectors to look more like lighting fixtures to blend into the home environment.

Voice assistants are widely used in smart homes of today. Great for answering questions such as ‘what’s the weather?’, they are not so great at more complex interactions like shopping or browsing music. Activities like that require a display, and although devices such as Amazon Echo Show and Nest Hub have screens, they are very small and are not viewable from across the room. Project LFX adds a bigger, more readable display on an empty surface wherever is most convenient for the homeowner, and what’s more, it disappears when not in use.

A video showing how the Project LFX work is available to watch here