Cooooool: Panasonic Unveils World’s First High-Speed Projection Mapping System at CES 2016

CES, king of consumer electronics trade shows, wrapped up this weekend in Vegas, naturally breaking all kinds of attendance records. Running for nearly half a century, the CES 2016 edition drew 170,000 attendees, with 3,800 exhibitors covering almost 2.5 million square feet of floor space. Hot diggety.

Obviously, there was was some sweet gadgetry on display: your basic self-driving cars, a machine that re-grows hair, and an alarm clock that wakes you up by stimulating your sense of smell. But what really caught our eye was the world’s first high-speed projection mapping system, a prototype unveiled by Panasonic and demonstrated via pop’n’lock:

Projection what-ting?

Right. Break it down, Wikipedia:

Projection mapping, also known as video mapping and spatial augmented reality, is a projection technology used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into a display surface for video projection. These objects may be complex industrial landscapes, such as buildings, small indoor objects or theatrical stages. By using specialized software, a two- or three-dimensional object is spatially mapped on the virtual program which mimics the real environment it is to be projected on. The software can interact with a projector to fit any desired image onto the surface of that object.[1] This technique is used by artists and advertisers alike who can add extra dimensions, optical illusions, and notions of movement onto previously static objects.

The thing with current projection mapping systems is that they have to be programmed in advance. A human being has to tell them where objects , which is naturally time consuming and restrictive. If any of your background components move out of alignment with the project mapping, the effect can be lost:

After the object which will be projected on is chosen or created, software is used to map the corners of the video to the surfaces. First, one must choose the images or video to project. Then, place each video on to its designated surface…. In 3d Mapping, coordinates need to be defined for where the object is placed in relation to the projector, the xyz orientation, position and lens specification of the projector must be determined virtual scene.

This is where Panasonic’s new prototype comes in: it responds to objects in motion that are not marked, like people, rather than depending on rigid, pre-set programming. For event producers, that opens up a whole new realm of possibility for dynamic experiences. Cool? We think so.