Over the past few years, we have all become more aware of the common items that we touch every day. Whether it's the buttons on an elevator, the handle on a public toilet, or even the kiosk at your favorite fast food joint, we touch a lot of things that everyone else and their children have touched. And you absolutely know that those elevator buttons haven't been cleaned. How can we solve this issue? IMUZAK has got the solution.
IMUZAK is a technology company based in Japan that has created a fascinating new technology. It's designed to allow you to interact with technology without having to physically touch screens and buttons. Instead, it uses microlenses to project holograms into the air. While we have seen holographic projectors in the past, IMUZAK separates itself from those products by making them touchable.
The company uses microlens technology to project the images into the air. These lenses are designed to be small, so that they can be placed in tighter areas, such as in cars. It allows for the projection to be placed close to the user without the image being miniaturized because of forced perspective.
Take, for example, our elevator example. Rather than having a panel of physical buttons, the IMUZAK technology would create a panel of virtual buttons. The buttons would float above the physical panel, each presenting with the floor number, emergency call button, etc. Pressing the button in the air will be able to trigger the command attached to the action.
Another usage that is currently in place is controls for the bathroom. You could flush a toilet, turn on a sink, even control the lights, all without touching a single physical button.
Another great usage of this technology has nothing to do with cleanliness. Imagine these virtual buttons around the steering wheel of a car. As it stands now, we have physical buttons on the wheel, each doing a specific thing. Whether or not you're receiving a phone call, there is always an answer button on the wheel, and it is always on the same part of the wheel, no matter what position it is in. With this holographic technology, an answer call button could appear at the top of the wheel only when you are getting a call. This would eliminate accidental activation while driving, while giving you easy access when you need it.
IMUZAK can also be used for non-touch purposes in the car. A perfect pairing of the holograms and a car would be a heads-up display, helping to display instrument panels and driving instructions. You could see the map from your GPS and even instructions on when and where to turn, all on your windshield.
IMUZAK is in active development with various usages planned. If you are a hardware developer looking for a unique way to control your devices, head over to the company's website for more information or to contact them.
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Okay, hi. Very nice to meet you.
Excellent. So if you could go ahead and introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about your company.
Okay. We are a Japanese startup company called Imuzak, Inc. We have established in 2015 and we are a very new company, we are manufacturing and selling the microlens that generates 3D mid-air floating images that you can touch and in the combination with the sensor, you are able to touch this air floating images.
What are you here to show us today?
Yes, we'd like to show you the 3D air floating steering wheel system. Let me show you. Let me share the image of this product. There it is. Can you see the 3D air floating steering wheel system? Can you?
Okay, great. That's right. We are making the microlens and using our microlens then any image can pop up and become 3D or floating images. Just simply by placing microlens in front of the source image can create 3D air floating images.
Okay, that's interesting. Are you able to interact with these free-floating 3d images?
Right, you can touch and move.
Oh, That's amazing.
Source image can be anything. So just like let's say toilet button and elevator button that you don't want to directly touch just using this microlens. It can make it float.
Interesting. Okay, that's amazing.
Now, what you said is that you can not only touch them, but you can also move them to different locations. How do you go about doing all of this?
That's right. One more thing is that the sensor is necessary So with the combination with the sensor and microlens then you are able to touch actually and move.
Okay, now, are there any, like special gestures or anything that you need to do to get these different commands, so to speak? Like you need to pinch to drag or you know, like something like that?
Yeah, push and slide and you can move. You don't really pinch but just air-floating things you can press and move like this.
Okay? Is that that the gestures are limited to is mostly press and slide?
Right, and hopefully in the future, we will try to pinch but right now you can slide and push. So it's like a button and, anything can float. So this demonstration device, this warning, and telephone call and maintenance notice can float, can pop up from the steering wheel at this moment.
Anything can happen because it depends on the source image.
Okay. Now, can you interact with, like, let's say more than one of these images at a time? I know that sounds a little silly, but.
Yeah. Anything because it just placed these microlens in front of the source image so the source image- it can be anything.
No matter how many.
Could you go into detail about how all of this works and the hardware or software that needs to come along with it?
Actually very simple. It's just a lens. It's a microlens processed by our special patented technology that's nanotechnology. So just using this microlens, just place it in front of the source image, this can float. It pops up. It's a really simple structure.
That sounds very cool.
There is a feature of this product, this microlens is very compact. Just placing the lens in front of the source image so you can create a 3D system in tight spaces. And second, is very high resolution and high definition so that the floating image is very clear. And it's clear even under the afternoon sun.
I understand. Wow!
And the third very simple structure. So anyone can just assemble together.
Sure, yeah. No, that sounds absolutely wonderful. It sounds wonderful and like you said, simple. That's the beauty of it.
Yeah, absolutely. Now when will we start to see something like this in the market?
Right. We are trying for automobile in 2025. We are aiming for.
2025? Excellent. And I imagine there's no like retail price or anything that-
All float. Understood. It sounds fantastic. Again, thank you very much for your patience with this.
You are welcome.
And you know, I'm glad that was very easy to digest. I definitely appreciate it. Is there anything else that you want to talk about it while you're here or anything I might have missed?
No, it's okay. We have other technology such as super hydrophilic technology and anti-reflection technology. But the one we wanted to demonstrate at CES is this one, 3D air floating. We have other 3D air floating toilet button but this is the main thing. That's okay?
I'm sure everybody would especially now, really like the idea of a floating flush button. Because we all know there are a lot of questionable toilets that we don't want to touch and a lot of people since the since they don't like to touch the toilet some people you know, like use their shoes or something like that to hit a flush but you have disabled people who still need to touch these things in order to flush them and so a floating button, that's wonderful. I think this is fantastic.
Can I show you, let me quickly show you the floating button pictures. Is that okay? Just one second.
Yeah, please. It's okay, take your time. I want to see it.
Can you see the floating toilet button?
Where is it located?
Right above. Can you see? This is it's a Japanese toilet. It's an electric toilet and the flush button is on the wall.
So it is actually mounted on the wall above buttons? Really cool.
Right. You can see the button is floating?
I did not expect it to be separate from the toilet but that makes sense. That absolutely makes sense.
Common Japanese toilet. Electric pilot.
Yeah. So stylish.
The toilet in my house is like this too. You push the button on the wall.
You push the button on the wall. Can we get more of that please? Absolutely. Thank you so much for taking the time to not only talk about your company with showing off these wonderful products.
You are welcome.
We love to see it and no problem and I hope you enjoy the rest of your show. You have a wonderful day.
Thank you very much. Bye-bye.
TPN CES 2022 coverage is executive produced by Michele Mendez. Technical Directors are Kurt Corless and Adam Barker. Associate producers are Nancy Ertz and Maurice McCoy. Interviews are edited by Jo Mini. Hosts are Marlo Anderson, Todd Cochrane, Scott Ertz, Christopher Jordan, Daniele Mendez, and Allante Sparks. Las Vegas studio provided by HC Productions. Remote studio provided by PLUGHITZ Productions. This has been Tech Podcasts Network Production, copyright 2022.