One of the most exciting announcements we made at MWC was Xperia Touch, the Android projector with the ability to turn any flat surface into a 23” HD touchscreen. Since its reveal, we’ve been itching to find out how something so radical could go from initial concept to reality and if we really are heading into a “Minority Report” world.
Not ones to miss out, we wasted no time in getting backstage at the booth to meet Arinobu Ueda (left) and Yuichiro Saito (right), the lead designer and engineer on Xperia Touch respectively.
Over our hands-on session, we fired questions, got the low down on the device and pushed for the inside track on what Xperia Touch is really all about – here’s how our chat played out.
Lovely to meet you both. Could you tell us a little more about the idea and any thoughts on its initial reception?
AU: “We’re incredibly excited to finally unveil Xperia Touch as a commercial product, it’s certainly been a challenging journey but to see such a positive reaction for the product we’ve worked so hard on, is something I’m very proud of.”
YS: “Our early concept for the Touch was an “advanced information window” for the whole family, a point of information that everyone would enjoy to engage with but also a focal point for group gathering.”
From first idea to having this product in front of us, how long has it taken?
YS: “We started to think about the possibilities of in-home interactive projection back at the end of 2015, from there we studied the concept and set to work on how we’d make our innovation a possibility.”
Multi-touch means it works well in group situations, was this the plan from the starting point?
YS: “Of course, we wanted to open this up to as many users as possible and allow multiple people to sit around and enjoy what it has to offer. Some smart products have a tendency to be quite individual but the Touch is all about enjoying it with friends and family.”
So any flat surface can now be turned into a touchscreen, are there any particular surfaces that work better than others?
AU: “Lighting is important to consider and projecting onto clear glass is difficult but any in-home surface would happily support the picture.”
How big can Xperia Touch project to, are we limited to twenty-three inches?
YS: “We can project to a much bigger eighty inches allowing users to watch films or videos, but at this scale the touch functionality isn’t possible. We’d love to expand but currently twenty-three inches is the largest our interactive feature will reach.”
And what about thinking smaller – would projection tech ever find itself in a smartphone?
YS: “We’re already very small. Our teams worked very closely to make the unit as small as we possibly could. Obviously the tech behind the projection has to be the priority, but we also had to ensure the overall unit would fit inside the home.”
AU: “Yes, the look and feel of the Touch sitting on a worktop, shelf or table was a huge development process for us. You won’t be using this all the time so the size, shape and feel of the Touch is in itself a piece of interior design. We picked the colour to blend in amongst other parts of the home, we didn’t want this to be a clunky unit and become an eyesore. The smooth edges work to make the Touch feel smaller and flow with other design features inside your home.”
We think it looks great. Do you have any particularly favorite apps or things to do using Xperia Touch?
YS: “Well I do have a guilty pleasure for an app called Fitflap Motion. It works with the camera on top of the Touch unit and requires you to flap your wings to keep your bird character flying across the game. It’s highly addictive, huge fun but also quite the work out!”
This is great, we’re off to have a play but any inside details on what’s next for you both? Do you have any juicy details you might be able to reveal?
AU: “I can’t say too much at the moment but AI is very important for us to consider. It will be very interesting to see how projection and artificial intelligence could find its way into the home.”
More information on the Xperia Touch can be found at the official Xperia Touch page.