The leap from projector technology as we know it to what we see in science fiction – think Tony Stark’s 3D projections – seems insurmountable. But the technology may already be on its way there. Showcased at CES 2020, Hachi Infinite realizes the potential of new-age projection technology with its ability to turn flat surfaces into touchscreens.
Now that sounds a little wild right? A projector as a touchscreen? How would that even work? And if it does, how much latency is there from the “touch” to the “action?” Is it better than the Puppy Cube, the company’s previous touchscreen projection? However, with one quick test run, our reservations were erased.
Working the Hachi Infinite was like using a tablet or smartphone; responses were quick, timely and extremely smooth. Additionally, the projector supports 10-point touch, meaning when we used the piano app, our resident musician was able to play a quick tune without missing a note.
That Hachi Infinite is a projector that creates a touchscreen is cool enough, but it’s the additional software features that make it even more appealing and separates itself from the Puppy Cube. Rather than just a projection or a touchscreen, AI functionality gives Hachi Infinite unique use cases including:
- Education driven programming thanks to text recognition. Kids can play an installed game to help match letters with words, among other things. Unlike with a pure on-screen experience, I was able to use letter blocks to match them with the letters projected. That tactile experience definitely makes a difference within the tech-assisted education space.
- In the kitchen, Hachi Infinite can recognize ingredients – one at a time or a couple at once – and suggest recipes based on the lifestyle you want to live. The kitchen wasn’t functional, but if it were, I would be cooking up a storm for sure!
- Able to recognize and identify body movements, Hachi Infinite enhances in-home fitness by ensuring users have the correct stance, body alignment and more for the best possible workout. My position on a couple exercises weren’t so great, and I could see immediate feedback both from the skeleton structure seen on the projection and the percentage shown off to the side.
Although these were the only demos available, it sounds like Hachi Infinite could have a lot more in the works. As the projector is based on Android OS, app developers can create new ways to use and interact with the touchscreen/AI/projector features of Hachi Infinite. Other additional cool features include:
- It can be set up with the projection on horizontal or vertical surfaces with an up to 120in projection.
- With its small form factor and 2-3 hour battery life, Hachi Infinite can be an extremely portable projection system.
- Gesture and voice controls allow non-touch controls.
Although we were sad to leave the booth, representatives at the CES booth said they were aiming for a March release.