Crazy Software Turns Paper Into A Touchscreen

With a webcam, a projector, and special software, researchers from Fujitsu Laboratories have made an awesome (and unexpected) mix of dead-tree and digital tech: a system that turns paper into touchscreens.

Put your documents under the machine while motion trackers determine where your finger is and, with a series of gestures, users can highlight images or text, then automatically digitize what they select. The machine can pick up on either a flat sheet of paper or adjust to the curve of a real book.

We’ve seen inventions like this before, and they always seem like they’re caught between two worlds. The technology is amazing, but can’t you just digitize text and make that digital version into a touchscreen? Maybe you’re really attached to your tattered copy of The Sun Also Rises but want a little more functionality.