A Pre-history of Handheld Projector-based Interaction

Handheld projectors are small projection devices that have recently come to market and are currently being embedded into a range of electronic devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras. Despite the growing adoption of this new technology, contemporary research has largely ignored historical usage of handheld projectors.

Pre-cinema handheld projectors such as the Magic Lantern and the Japanese Utsushi-e performance offer important historical precedents for contemporary handheld projector-based interaction. This research paper outlines an initial ‘pre-history’ of handheld projector-based interaction by documenting historic projection techniques and outlining their relevance to contemporary research.

Research Paper: A Pre-history of Handheld Projector-based Interaction

Funded by: Carnegie Mellon University GuSH grant

Le Vieux Style, 1811 (Jack Judson Collection)

Illustration showing the use of a belt-mounted magic lantern to entertain a family (Erkki Huhtamo Collection)

A rare belt-mounted variation of the magic lantern created by Philip Carpenter, 1823 (Erkki Huhtamo Collection)

Illustration showing the use of a magic lantern with a rear handle to entertain a family (Jack Judson Collection)

Slides used with the belt-mounted magic lantern (Erkki Huhtamo Collection)

Toy magic lanterns with handles attached to the rear (Jack Judson Collection)

Utsushi-e was a Japanese performance that utilized handheld projectors to act out a story

An exact replica of a nineteenth century Japanese furo, made by Fumio Yamagata (Jack Judson Collection)

Slide images are manipulated to create animated content

Physical movement and rotation of the device was used to position projected imagery

Multiple projectors were used to combine and animate imagery

Projected imagery is occluded to create various effects