In the FLUIDUM project, the FLUID desk is the smallest prototype of an instrumented environment. We use it as a means to examine new ways of interacting with a possible office environment of the future. The setup consists of an ordinary, empty office table. Above this table is a digital camera hidden in the ceiling. It is used for both taking photos of the table surface as well as for providing a constant video stream, which is necessary in order to analyze activities on the table. The camera is remotely controlled by a PC hidden behind a wall. Also located behind the wall is a standard video beamer, which projects an image through a hole in the wall. In order to redirect this image to the table surface, a mirror is mounted on the wall. Using this setup, we can enable a person sitting on the desk to work with a computer, without even being aware of working with a computer. Working on this table means to both manipluate physical objects as well as digital information on the desk surface and interacting both physically and through gestures with the system.
Once the computer is turned off, the magic is gone and the user sits again in front of an empty table.