Invoked computing turns your pizza box into a computer, and a banana into a phone

If you thought that your computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc took up too much space, researchers from the Ishikawa-Oku lab in Tokyo University have come up with a concept that they’re calling “Invoked Computing”. The idea behind it is to do away with specific physical objects such as keyboards and monitors, instead replacing them with projections onto various household objects.

For example in the video demonstration below, a regular pizza box could double up as a display of sorts, allowing users to control the volume by sliding their finger up and down, and also allowing a banana to be transformed into a telephone! According to lead researcher Alexis Zerroug:

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“In this project we explore the reverse scenario:a ubiquitous intelligence capable of discovering and instantiating affordances suggested by human beings (as mimicked actions and scenarios involving objects and drawings). Miming will prompt the ubiquitous computing environment to “condense” on the real object, by supplementing it with artificial affordances through common AR techniques. An example: taking a banana and bringing it closer to the ear. The gesture is clear enough: directional microphones and parametric speakers hidden in the room would make the banana function as a real handset on the spot. (…)

To “invoke” an application, the user just needs to mimic a specific scenario. The system will try to recognize the suggested affordance and instantiate the represented function through AR techniques (another example: to invoke a laptop computer, the user could take a pizza box, open it and “tape” on its surface).”

So how many of us would like to answer the phone with a banana?

Read more about augmented reality and Japan.

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