I really like to watch presentations and demonstrations about technology, especially on the TED website but also on other websites. I recently stumbled upon a presentation for Microsoft's Touchwall, an inexpensive rear-projection system.
The video below is about a demonstration of Microsoft's Director of Envisioning Ian Sands who explains various features of and the technique behind the Microsoft Touchwall product.
The software used to run the show is called Plex running on the Vista platform. The other equipment was a plexiglass screen, a rear projector, an infrared camera and three infrared lasers.
The user can interact with the content on the screen in an organic fashion, which means unlimited zooming, watching videos, flipping through pictures and a lot more. The potential is amazing. The Touchwall does look incredible in my opinion and it is a shame that Microsoft has no plans on marketing the product.
Crunchgear has a lot of additional footage about the product on their website.
You may ask yourself how that's different from Microsoft's Surface technology. Well, there are a couple of core differences. Microsoft Touchwall for one costs a couple of hundred Dollars to produce, while Surface devices begin at more than $10,000. The technology used is also fundamentally different. Surface uses multi-touch capable screens while Touchwall projectors to show the contents on the wall and infrared lasers to scan the surface and a camera to transmit when an input device, like a finger or pen, breaks the surface.
What makes Touchwall interesting is the low price point at which it could be available. Then again, since Microsoft has not expressed any interest to market the technology, it is unlikely that we will see devices using the technology come out in the near future.
If you want that, with an inexpensive budget, try this (multitouch, also):
(announced half a year ago)
Classroom have had devices like these for some time now — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVFsxev-2sk