Taking the prize for coolest concept at the show was Panasonic';s Life Wall. A concept video was shown at Ceatec';s 3D presentation but PC World had the opportunity to see the real deal at Panasonic';s Eco Ideas Centre and can tell you it is mind blowing.
Panasonic's Life Wall
Picture this: an entire wall of your living room has a massive image projected on it, let's say a beach scene. You walk up to it, point and a glowing purple circle appears. It says: "Hi Pauline," well in this case "Yoshi". Infant circles pop up around it, each representing a number of features: email, your books, images, etc.
With a lazy wave of your hand you can access your files, drag and drop them to a virtual bookshelf, video conference and even create artwork.
PC World trying out the Life Wall
The Life Wall's 1950m x 630m interactive display is made possible through rear projection, coupled with sensors that detect your movements. A 'coffee table' (imagine a giant iPhone) with sensors can also be used to control the images on the wall. To flip the pages of a book on the wall, you would stroke the table much as you do with smartphone touchscreens.
Panasonic was unable to confirm when, or even if a product like this would be likely to come to the market as the initial research and development costs are obviously quite high.
Touch screen technology appeared in a number of devices, but we particularly liked the Cristal table top interface. Slide and flip your way around the media in your living room without having to get up (but you will have to lift a finger).
The Cristal table top interface
If you snap a shot of your living room, it may have a flat screen panel, lights, speakers, some DVDs on a shelf and a digital photo frame. Once configured, you can touch the image of your DVD on Cristal, drag it over to the image of your TV and sit back as the DVD starts to play. Sound too loud? Touch the speaker image and drag downwards to lower the volume.
Developed in a mere six months as a joint collaboration between the Japanese Government and the Upper Austria University of Applied Science, Cristal is technologically ready if a supplier wants to order it, at US$5000.
The living room that is being controlled by Cristal