USPTO Publishes MicroVision Patent Application for Interactive Touch Projection

MicroVision Widescreen Logo.jpg

Patent Application

Today, the USPTO published patent application 20110164191 assigned to MicroVision titled, "Interactive Projection Method, Apparatus, and System".  This application describes various methods for generating a projected image that is capable of being manipulated by the user without the need to handle the host device.  In fact, the projected image can be manipulated by the use of a person's finger - think portable SMART Board™.


MicroVision has been developing methods for using their PicoP® technology to not only project information, but also "read" information.  Because the MEMS scanning technology uses lasers to "paint" each pixel when projecting, the same components can be made to detect features of each pixel location.  In this case, the PicoP® technology is being employed to detect an obstruction with the projected image - specifically, the obstruction which is furthest from the projector source. 



Claim 1 describes the overall method as:


1. A method comprising: detecting an obstruction in a projector's illumination field, the illumination field having a border; determining where the obstruction crosses the border of the illumination field; and determining a point on the obstruction in the illumination field that is the furthest distance from where the obstruction crosses the border of the illumination field.


According to this patent application, there are multiple methods for carrying out the invention.  We have been reporting on interactive touch projection for a while now.  This trend is gaining momentum, as several projector manufacturers are starting to offer sophisticated cameras on conference room projectors.  The problem with many of these is size and cost.  These advanced projectors cost thousands of dollars and require a very large detection lens.  MicroVision is hoping that their PicoP® technology can add interactive touch capability to portable projectors without adding much, if any cost.


A PDF of the full patent application is attached for your reading.  Also, have a look at the video below for an example of how interactive touch projection can be applied.  In this case, the video shows the Intel OASIS project.