Bosch's tiny laser projection module puts touchscreens in your wardrobe
It looks like nothing in your house is safe from becoming "smart." Case in point: At CES this week Bosch has unveiled a device that could be fitted to furniture to plug regular old shelves into the Internet of Things. The BML100PI module (which could use a zippier name) projects a touchscreen onto shelves to help you pick out an outfit or book a laundry pickup.
The bland name should be the first clue that this device isn't for consumers directly – instead, Bosch is pitching the module at manufacturers. That said, it's an interesting glimpse at where the next generation of smart furniture might be headed.
The device itself measures just 47 x 43 mm (1.9 x 1.7 in), making it smaller than a credit card, and consumes about 2 W of power. The idea is that it could be embedded into kitchen appliances, home gadgets or furniture, where it projects an interactive display onto up to six surfaces at once. Bosch says the device will throw sharp images onto any surface type, whether it's dark, colored, wet, stepped or curved.
According to Bosch, the projected image becomes interactive thanks to a laser beam that scans the image line-by-line, detecting when and where fingers or other gestures interrupt it.
The company has a few suggestions for what this could be used for. A touchscreen could be projected onto the door of a wardrobe to display the weather or your daily calendar, and recommend what to wear based on that. Or it could project onto the shelves themselves, letting you buy new clothes or book a dry cleaning service from the tap of a virtual, projected button.
How useful this might be remains to be seen, but we're sure some crafty electronics manufacturer will come up with a way to use it. Already we've seen similar tech put to work to turn TV screens or even the floor into touchscreens, mostly for entertainment purposes.
Bosch is demonstrating the device at CES this week, and says it will be available in the second quarter of 2020.