Here’s how to hack an Ikea lamp and transform it into a mixed-reality projector

Do you have access to an Ikea lamp, a 3D printer, a few electronics components, and a bit of free time? If so, you could hack together a pretty awesome creation — a nifty user interface projector that’s bound to enliven any home. Combining a lamp, laser projector, and Google’s Internet of Things software platform, Android Things, the smart “Lantern” projector can be used to create a range of augmented UI elements. For example, you could use it to create an augmented clock where your appointments are overlaid around a real-world clock. And that’s just for starters!

“Using the companion app for Lantern, anyone can assign ‘channels’ to display information to their choice of orientation,” Michael DelGaudio — a product design lead at Google, whose job is to envision and design products related to our connected future — told Digital Trends. “As of now, we have built a calendar overlay for a clock, a ‘currently playing’ song [status] to project onto a speaker, a star chart for the ceiling, and ambient weather for your desk. Anyone can create a channel for themselves, and we are excited to see what people will come up with.”

There’s plenty of buzz around augmented reality technology right now. For the most part, this has focused on use cases in which users are asked to view the world through their smartphone or tablet display in order to see the augmented elements. This project is different, since the augmented interface is actually projected onto the world in front of you, something referred to as “mixed reality.” At present, this is predominantly a fun home hack, but long term, team members are serious when they suggest it could be an alternative to our regular screens, giving us a user interfacethath appears when we need it and fades away when we don’t.

“The team wanted to explore the relation between augmented reality and everyday objects,” DelGaudio saidd. “We started by sketching possible containers that a projector might sit inside while in a home. A lamp is a natural fit because it is movable and already projects light. From there, the team iterated on various housing configurations and interaction design for assigning content, using the physical form.”

If you’d like to build your own Lantern, step-by-step instructions can be found on the website Hackster.io. If you’re wondering how to spend your weekend and fancy picking up a few new skills in the process, there are worse things to do than check out what could possibly be the computer interface of the future.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

Any night can be a night at the movies with the best home theater projectors

Are you sick and tired of those cumbersome big screen TVs? Don’t want to spend big for a huge TV? These home theater projectors will bring you that big screen experience without breaking the bank.
Virtual Reality

Magic Leap One no longer asks for a leap of imagination. Here's how it works

The Magic Leap One AR headset is now available for a rather hefty price. Here's everything you need to know about the device including the price, where it can be purchased, the hardware powering Magic Leap's goggles and more.
Product Review

Say goodbye to the snooze bar. Amazon's Echo Spot is an alarm clock for 2018

The Amazon Echo Spot, the newest member of Amazon’s smart speaker family, is cute, fun, and sleek. But if you use it for an alarm clock, you might want to turn off the camera. Find out more in our review.
Emerging Tech

By studying patient data, A.I. can limit toxicity in cancer treatment

In a bid to improve quality of life for cancer patients, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have turned to machine learning to help avoid toxicity from cancer medications.
Emerging Tech

Replaced by robots: 10 jobs that could be hit hard by the A.I. revolution

According to one study, 47 percent of current jobs in the United States could be automated within the next two decades. Here are 10 examples of the kind of employment that refers to.
Emerging Tech

‘Rogue medicine in a bathtub’: 4 experts on the vice and virtue of pharma hacking

A biohacker, pharmahacker, and two bioethicists walk into a bar. We ordered them a metaphorical round and had a chat about the risks and rewards of DIY medicine — from unsanctioned gene therapy to medication made on the kitchen counter.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe sets out to try and ‘touch’ the sun

A NASA probe launched on a journey to take measurement of the atmosphere of the Sun, hopefully uncovering crucial details about the origins of the solar winds generated there.
Emerging Tech

The Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend! Here’s how to watch

Thanks to a new moon, 2018's Perseid Meteor Shower will be much easier to view, with even the dimmest meteors observable by the naked eye. Here's how to see the show this weekend, and where the views will be the best.
Emerging Tech

Don’t get burned! How to back crowdfunding projects the smart way

In the world of crowdfunding, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. There's a million reasons why a project might fail. But with this handy guide, you'll be able to spot the signs of a sketchy project and decrease your chances of getting…
Emerging Tech

Stanford A.I. can realistically score computer animations just by watching them

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a computer system that’s able to synthesize realistic sounds for 3D animation, based entirely on its knowledge about the physical world.
Emerging Tech

No keyboard? No problem. Masterkey will project you a virtual one to type on

Miss having a physical keyboard when you're out and about? Wish you could have a mobile display bigger than your smartphone can offer? Masterkey 4.0 is a wireless projector that promises to help.
Cars

You don’t need to go autonomous to make trucking safer

Long haul truckers are very good at their jobs, but they face long hours and unpredictable conditions. Autonomous tech may be coming, but here’s how lidar technology companies are working to enhance trucking safety today.
Emerging Tech

Be a master of your own ever-changing ‘galaxy’ with this kinetic wall art

Art Machine is a stunning work of kinetic art that looks like a continuously swirling galaxy or turbulent weather formation viewed through a ship's porthole. Check it out in all its glory.