Researchers from Microsoft Research have presented a rug Project Zanzibar, which allows you to transfer characters from the game to the real world and vice versa.
How it works?
Project Zanzibar is a large touch panel that reacts to touch and gestures above the surface. The system easily recognizes the shape of objects (as far as resolution permits), and NFC tags are used to more accurately track movements. With smartphones, the rug is synchronized via Bluetooth, moreover, it can act as a power source for low-power devices (buttons, LEDs and so on).
Where it is useful?
One of the areas of application of technology is games. For example, a battle on the field can be accompanied by sound effects (or virtual if someone is lucky enough to own glasses of augmented reality like Microsoft HoloLens). In the Movie Maker application, users can shoot videos in the virtual world by moving the camera figure on the rug to select an angle. In card games, the touch panel will also be very handy.
With the new device it is also convenient to learn letters and words with children. Another scenario is the programming of robots using blocks (analogous to Blockly in the real world).
Microsoft does not say anything about the mass release of such gadgets. Project Zanzibar will be shown at the conference CHI 2018, which will be held from April 21 to 27 in Montreal, Canada.
Sony in 2016 showed a similar rug for card games Project Field, but outside of Japan it never appeared.
Source: Microsoft Research