When giving a presentation on a large screen, there are two popular options for calling attention to specific areas of a slide deck:
- Physically gesture at the screen (or use a laser pointer, as seen in Figure 1).
- Use the laptop trackpad to move the mouse pointer / arrow around.
The trackpad method—which requires the presenter to hover around their laptop—usually makes for a less engaging presentation, but it’s the only option for a presentation that requires real-time interaction.
So far, there’s been no way to combine the best of both worlds: 1) the direct-pointing of the laser pointer and 2) the ability to affect the on-screen user interface elements.
Fig. 1: Presentation remotes often consist of a slide advance button, a “back” button, and a laser pointer. Some of them also have a gyroscopic mouse, but this feature usually controls awkwardly at best.
Until now, that is!
In this proposal, the presentation remote (and laser pointer) will allow the user to point the laser at an element on the screen (say, a “play video” button), click a button on the remote, and have the on-screen element respond (in this case, playing the video).
The system works as follows:
- The presentation remote is paired to the presenter’s laptop already, in order to allow the slide advance button to work. This is a normal feature of all presentation remotes.
- The remote also gets a “reference” image of what’s on the laptop screen at the exact moment. This doesn’t have to be high-resolution; the remote just has to know generally what the screen looks like, updated a few times per second.
- The remote also also contains a camera, so it can see what its laser pointer is pointing at.
- So when the presenter points a laser at the large presentation screen, the remote now knows exactly what element the laser is hitting, since it can compare the camera image to the reference image of what’s on the laptop.
This allows the user to essentially turn the presentation screen into a giant touchscreen.
For a touch-aware operating system (e.g. iOS, Android, or Microsoft Windows), this would require no additional software support beyond sending a simulated touch event at the laser-pointer-pointed-at location.
Fig. 2: The remote has a camera in it, so it can compare what it’s pointing at to the “reference” image from the presenter’s laptop: if the images mostly match, the remote can figure out exactly what the laser pointer is pointing at.
If you thought it was TOO EASY to set up a presentation these days, this new and complex system will guarantee at least 15 minutes of “wait… hang on, I think I’ve got it working…. no, huh. Is it input 1, or input 2?” at the beginning of every presentation.
PROS: Prevents deforestation by reducing the number of wooden presentation pointers that will be manufactured.
CONS: May reduce deforestation so much that plants grow rampantly across the globe, killing all animal life and depleting the atmosphere of carbon dioxide. All because you couldn’t be bothered to walk over to your laptop to move the mouse!!!