Whoa. We heard there was going to be some pretty cool stuff at CES this year, but this is something we were definitely not expecting. Russian startup Displair is showing off a machine capable of illuminating a touch display powered by just mist. Put away that Gorilla Glass, Corning Inc. This is something else.
The Displair technology works by bouncing the reflection of an iPad screen to project onto the wall of misty air. Using sensors within the Displair machine and in front of the projector, the device can read where your fingers are moving to recreate the nature of physically controlling a touchscreen. All you have to do is stick your fingers through the mist to push or swipe. “Play with air,” as the company slogan says. Of course, the nature of mist versus LED screens mean Displair is essentially more energy efficient, and the added benefits of mist in a room helps to moisturize skin and air. All this with just about 0.4 gallons (1.5 liters) of water per hour depending on the room humidity levels.
From what we can see at CES, the colors are vibrant and accurate, but because the machine is constantly blowing mist, some of the images can get obscured. For example, we sampled Fruit Ninja on the device (and we all know Natt Garun loves a good round of Fruit Ninja) and while the slicing actions were mostly accurate, it was hard to see what the current score or remaining time was. Additionally, practicality seems to be an issue as the machine is more of a one-time-use kind of deal rather than aiming to replace tablets. However, for parties and special events, Displair seems cutting edge enough to make your next event extra buzzworthy.
Displair is currently available for rent in Russia at approximately $1,000 per day, and the machine will be available by the end of the year for about $12,000.