Old office innovation idea making a resurgence after 25 years.
The Digital Desk, a futuristic concept from the early 1990s, may soon be making an appearance in an office or workstation near you. As originally envisioned, the approach used a video camera and projectors to blur the lines between the physical and the digital worlds.
You could highlight paragraphs of text on a book. Drag the words onto an electronic word document. File expenses by touching a stylus to a receipt and dragging the numbers into a digital spreadsheet. Without a keyboard, mouse or screen.
Despite its simplicity, the Digital Desk never took off. Technology moved instead to self-contained boxes like smartphones, tablets and laptops. But that may be changing, according to an article in WIRED magazine.
Like the original idea, this newest version projects your calendar, map or Google Docs onto a desk or surface where you can pinch, swipe and tap. And, it works better than ever thanks to decades of technological advancements. It now has a small unit with a depth camera and pocket projector that screws directly into a standard lightbulb socket. The plan is to integrate it into a regular LED lightbulb.
Today it costs around $1,000 to build a one-off research unit, but backers believe that mass manufacturing could get a unit down to around $50. That’s expensive for a lightbulb but cheap for a tablet, they say.
The goal: putting the digital and the physical in the same environment, so they can be merged intelligently. But don’t hang up your keyboard and mouse yet. Find out more about the Digital Desk by reading the article here.