Mist system allows multiple interactions

Fog usually gets in the way of us seeing things clearly, but a group of researchers at the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science have harnessed it to create a way of seeing and interacting with 2D objects that appear three dimensional. The creation, called MisTable, has been introduced as a new way to share content and interact – directly or indirectly – with 3D objects.

The system consists of a tabletop combining a horizontal interactive surface with personal screens between the user and the tabletop surface. Two projectors shoot onto the screens which are actually a thin barrier of fog which the user can see through and reach through. As the screens are see-through the user has a direct line of sight of both the personal screen and the elements behind it on the tabletop.

Being reach-through, the user can switch from interacting with the personal screen to reaching through it to interact with the tabletop or the space above it. The personal screen allows a range of customisations such as presenting 2D personal contents on the screen, 3D contents above the tabletop or augmenting and relighting tangible objects differently for each user.

Besides, having a personal screen for each user allows the researchers to customise the view of each of them according to their identity or preferences. Finally, the personal screens preserve all well-established tabletop interaction techniques like touch and tangible interactions.