Two (screens) become one

  • PopPress
  • September 18, 2014
  • StopPress Team
Two (screens) become one

According to a Nielsen survey of connected device owners in the US released last year, "nearly half of smartphone owners (46 percent) and tablet owners (43 percent) said they use their devices as second screens while watching TV every day. And more than two-thirds of tablet and smartphone owners said they used these second screens multiple times a week during Q1 2013."

The problem, however, is that the experience one screen is often disconnected from what the viewer is accessing on the smartphone screen.

So, in an effort to bring the two worlds a little closer together, a team of tech geniuses at MIT has now developed Thaw, a technological innovation that enables the smartphone user to interact with a second screen (at this stage a laptop or a tablet).  

And although the technology is still in its infancy and only capable of very basic applications at this stage, it isn't far-fetched to imagine it becoming more useful at a later stage. 

According to a Fast Company article, the technology was developed in MIT's Media Lab by a team, who set out create a system that would allow for the seamless interaction between a smartphone and laptop screen:

"It's the result of an internal collaboration between Philipp Schoessler of MIT's Tangible Media Group, which also birthed a revolutionary, shapeshifting display you can reach through and touch, and Sang-won Leigh of the Fluid Interface Group. The former group spends its time trying to make the digital world more physical; the latter works to find new ways to make the physical world more digital. Sometimes partners, sometimes rivals, the two are like Yin and Yang ... THAW works by placing a color grid on the monitor, and using the iPhone's camera lens as a way to detect what part of the monitor it's hovering over, similar to the sensor on a computer mouse. But THAW is much smarter than your average mouse: it can see what's underneath it, and use the phone's screen to interact with it. To not distract users, the team devised a way to hide the color grid everywhere except directly underneath the iPhone camera."

Given the increased desire of brands to interact with consumers, there are almost certainly some marketers who are already salivating at the thought of using this in their next omnichannel, seamlessly integrated, innovatively interactive campaign.

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  • PopPress
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