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UCPH man is runner-up at IT summit

Assistant professor at the Department of Computer Science wins second prize at CeBIT innovation awards: his app makes your phone a 'projector'

Smartphones are solitary devices: anyone who tries showing a photo album on their phone to a group of friends, will quickly become frustrated as the phone gets passed around the table, with everyone patiently waiting their turn. Now See Through Phone, a smartphone app solves that problem, by ‘projecting’ the phone’s display to any screen.

The app, developed by Sebastian Boring of the Department of Computer Science, DIKU, University of Copenhagen and Dominikus Baur, University of Calgary, was runner-up Tuesday in CeBIT’s Innovation Award in Hannover, Germany. The award is given out to the most innovative consumer electronics product every year.

“We can easily bring photos from an iPhone to any display in the world. The metaphor we like to use is one of a projector. Move the phone closer to the screen, and the picture gets bigger. Move back, and it gets smaller. Tilting it to the side, also tilts the ‘projected’ picture. To accomplish this, the phone does complex spacial arithmetic, based on data it gathers from its rear-facing camera, along with its accelerometer”, professor Boring says to the University Post from Hannover.

See through your phone

“The possibilities are nearly limitless. You can ‘project’ a youtube video on your television. You can show the pictures from your last trip, with a map sitting alongside the pictures, so you can tell where each picture was taken.”

The app can also be used for collaborative work. A group of colleagues can all look at the same screen, as one creates outlines for a design on their phone, or scrolls through graphs and charts. The technology is similar to Apple’s Airplay protocol, which allows iPhones and iPads to stream photos and videos to televisions.

“Airplay simply mirrors the phone’s screen on a TV. What we do goes beyond simple mirroring. For example, you can have multiple images on your television, and arrange them. ‘See Through Mode’ is also completely innovative. You can see it in action on our website”, Boring tells University Post.

iPhone app out; other platforms in the works

In ‘See Through Mode’ the phone will display the TV behind it, using its rear camera, while giving the user the ability to interact with whatever is shown on the TV by manipulating the elements shown on the phone’s screen. Boring and Baur have created a video of this feature in action.

The app is currently only available on the iPhone, but ports to other platforms are in the works, Boring informs us. The server software, while still in closed beta, will soon be freely available, and can be installed on any computing hardware. Anyone who already has a gaming console connected to their television set wouldn’t need to purchase any additional hardware.

You can find the app on the Apple Appstore, and find more about it on its homepage (In German. Google translation available here)

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