Is This ‘Aerial Touchpanel’ the UI of the Future?

Parity Innovations Parity Mirror 300 allows you to create floating user interfaces that can be tapped, pressed or swiped.

Is This ‘Aerial Touchpanel’ the UI of the Future?

The Parity Mirror allows you to create a floating interface 300 millimeters by 300 millimeters in size.

User interfaces (UI) continue to evolve with a mixture of switches, keypads, touchpanels and voice control, but will a floating extended reality “aerial touchpanel” interface soon be an option for integrators to bring to their clients? Perhaps.

At Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022, Parity Innovations, a Kyoto-based startup that has been around since 2010, is showcasing its Parity Mirror, a plastic plate that can project an air-floating image of anything behind it. The imaging system, which combines the Parity Mirror, sensors and haptic devices, enables people to easily create “aerial switches” and “aerial touchpanels” that they can control by “tapping,” “pressing” or “swiping” while never physically touching anything.

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The new “Parity Mirror 300” (300mm x 300mm) is large enough to convert images projected on PC monitors or mobile devices into aerial ones without a big price tag, according to the company.

“The Parity Mirror system is an easy and affordable tool to create intuitive, non-contact interfaces,” Parity Innovations CEO Satoshi Maekawa says. “Because it can make computer-generated images appear in mid-air in the physical world, rather than in a virtual world, our technology has the potential to augment our living environment. We are excited to introduce this innovative Extended Reality (ER) technology at CES 2022.”

Parity Mirror lets light through, instead of reflecting it back, to project forward an image of the object on the other side of the plate, causing the image to appear suspended in mid-air. This effect is the result of the plate’s finely dividing light beams using discrete unit optical elements, then forming images by collecting the divided rays according to geometrical optics.

It’s right out of “Star Trek” but could be a future potential option for integrators.

About the Author

Jason Knott
Jason Knott:

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald's Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.