Projection mapping is a technology first utilised by Disney back in 1969, when Disneyland opened its Haunted Mansion attraction. Since then the technology has seen all sorts of different applications, but there have always been limitations.
Many standard projectors are only capable of outputting in either 60 or 120fps, which means that it will be slow to track a fast moving object, as shown in DynaFlash’s video (see above).
That’s where DynaFlash comes in; thanks to the 1,000fps refresh rate, the projector can smoothly project to even the fastest moving object, meaning there’s no lag in image.
This is not the first time we have seen projection mapping designed for moving objects however; Walt Disney Imagineering created similar technology for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for the Magic Kingdom’s ‘New Fantasyland’ at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida.
Here Disney utilised a projector built into the heads of the characters to display a projected face, giving them realistic facial expressions.
So how did researchers at the University of Tokyo solve this issue? The trick they have come up with involves adding a special controller to a DLP projector that, combined with fast image output, delivers both high frame rates and low latency.
However, DynaFlash is not without its down sides.
The main issue with the researcher’s projector is the low-resolution image that it is capable of outputting.
Unlike 4K and 1080p projectors currently popular with consumers and industry professionals, DynaFlash is only capable of outputting in 1,024 x 768 in a 256-colour scale.
Standard art installations and gaming functionality are not the only things that this could benefit either.
DynaFlash envisions a future where cars can be tracked around a parking facility using this technology.
Using detailed 3D measurements, the projector will be able to predict which spaces are about to be filled and which are available.
Despite limitations, the researchers believe that a shippable product will be available as soon as Summer 2016.