Tucked in a little room at Sony's CES 2014 booth is a mockup of what a living room could look like in the future. Sony's "Life Space UX" imagines a room where that uses laser projectors to augment walls, table surfaces and the ceiling into immersive digital lifestyle experiences.
There are four parts to Sony's Life Space UX concept. The first is the 4K Ultra Short Throw projector. Unlike traditional projectors, the Ultra Short Throw resembles a piece of furniture that is placed against a wall; it has a low and elongated modern media center-like shape. Part of its top opens up to reveal a projector capable of projecting a 147-inch 4K projection. That's a massive screen with a 4,096 x 2,160 pixel resolution. But the entire thing isn't just a projector, it's modular, too. Blending in next to the projector in the middle are two speakers and two cabinets.
The prototype in the Life Space UX room has four HDMI ports, a speaker, USB and Ethernet port. It's basically a giant set-top box with a built-in projector. Sony's planning to sell it for $30,000-$40,000 this summer. We wish we were in the 1 percent that could afford to buy one.
The second piece is a super compact laser projector housed inside of a light fixture directly over a table. Digital windows are projected onto the table (kinda like the original Microsoft Surface table computer) and users can interact with the apps and move them around with just their hands and fingers. For example, you might have windows open for watching the news, checking your schedule or sorting photos together.
Piece three is a pair of mini laser projectors that retract from the ceiling. These two mini cylinders can project different scenery and backgrounds. If you'd like to enjoy a snowy environment, the projectors will display falling snow on the ceiling, or if you want to relax to a sunset, you'll see some fiery clouds. This particular concept is gimmicky, since this projection doesn't cover the entire surface area of the ceiling; it creates a small square projection, which feels half-baked.
The last piece of the Life Space UX concept room is a touchscreen mirror that doubles as a digital display when a person approaches it. In Sony's demo, you could scroll through periodicals and read articles.
Sony's concept is a neat idea, but as awesome as using laser projectors to turn boring rooms into interactive displays and environments is, it'll never happen unless you're absurdly rich enough to afford the technology. Still, it's a fun concept that explores the integration of new technologies into furniture and interior design. Kudos to Sony for remembering that everything starts with a dream.
Posted on location at CES 2014. All photos taken by Raymond Wong for DVICE.