Disney SideBySide Interactive Projection - An Exclusive Follow Up


Recently, we published an article discussing some exciting work by Disney Research.  SideBySide, if you recall, is a revolutionary way to experience multi-user entertainment.  With the use of modified pico projectors, users can display and interact with each other in some pretty exciting ways.


We had a chance to gain additional insight into the SideBySide program.  Karl D.D. Willis, Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University and a lab associate at Disney Research, was kind enough to spend some time answering some questions for us.  Karl is one of the lead researchers on the SideBySide project, as well as many other groundbreaking programs, like MotionBeam.  It is work such as this that really shows how pico projection really is a disruptive innovation.





Q: Can you tell us what the impetus was for the SideBySide project?

A: One of the inherent advantages of mobile projector technology is the big screen image created from a small device. This immediately opens up opportunities for working and playing together with others. The main impetus for SideBySide was to develop technology that would support multiple people working or playing together using only mobile devices.

Q: What is your vision for the SideBySide project?  The research paper and video demonstration are quite exciting and would certainly change how we interact with mobile content.

A: In the future we envision tiny, bright, power-efficient projectors that are with us at all times and allow interaction virtually anywhere. Interaction between different projectors is established simply by moving within range of another device. The SideBySide system demonstrates the first steps towards realizing this vision.

Q: Do you see gaming as the primary application for this interactive multi-user projection capability?  What other applications do you expect this technology to be used for?

A: The technology itself can be used for a range of different interactions, from interactive games to content sharing applications. Because games utilize the spatial layout and alignment of multiple projections really well, they are ideal for demonstrating the underlying technology. Disney is primarily an entertainment company, and we are very excited about mobile projectors as a new platform for delivering Disney content to the world.

Q: What opportunities do you see for miniaturizing the hardware to make the system more commercially-viable?

A: Most of the hardware we use is already available in today's smartphone devices. Although we do use a customized projection engine, this can also be manufactured in a small form factor device. 

Q: Is your group working on other projects that leverage mobile projection? If so, can you tell us about any of these?

A: We see this as a very promising area of research, and you can expect to see more great things in the future.


As you can see, we have lots to look forward to.  Continued research into interactive pico projection should usher in an entirely new set of gaming and entertainment experiences.  No doubt, Disney will be among the first to provide the exciting content we will all want.


Thanks to Karl and his team for publishing such intriguing work, and for spending some time answering some questions we had about the project.