TI Plans Minority Report UI With ARM SoC, Projector

Texas Instruments may be looking to deliver a Minority Report-like user interface by combining its just-announced OMAP 5 platform, which is based on two Cortex A15 cores, with one of its own DLP pico projectors and a camera.

The US semiconductor giant wants to pioneer the use of so-called next generation natural user interfaces by adding hardware support for stereoscopic 3D, gesturing including proximity sensor and interactive projection.

This is reminiscent of the SixthSense, a wearable device invented by Pranav Mistry, which was demoed back in March 2009 by the then-PhD student of MIT's Media Lab Fluid Interfaces Group at TED (check the video below).

The prototype built by Mistry back in 2009 featured an ordinary webcam and a battery powered micro projector attached to a mirroa and connected to an internet-enabled mobile phone; altogether, the setup, albeit very rudimentary, cost less than £250.

The OMAP 5 system on chip can support up to four cameras in parallel and should be capable of recording and playing back 3D content at 1080p quality (almost two megapixels) as well as converting 2D to 3D content in real-time at the same resolution.

Other features that the TI OMAP 5 SoC boasts that can be used for a gesture based user interface include full-body and multi-body interactive gestures as well as interactive projection - just like for SixthSense - where the user can actually touch, drag and drop projected images either on a table top, a wall or even a human hand.

In addition, TI says that the OMAP 5 platform can interface with a number of so-called touchless sensors that include proximity sensing, capacity sensing and ultrasonic sensing. TI did not say exactly when the first devices equipped with the OMAP 5 will be released; the platform is expected to be sampled during the second half of 2011 with devices likely to come towards the second half of 2012.