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Items Come Alive With Microsoft’s Zanzibar Object-Detecting Playmat

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More game companies have been working on translating real-world objects into digital worlds.

These have only transferred proprietary products, and Microsoft comes up with something innovative.

the company’s researchers have developed a prototype smart playmat that’s called Project Zanzibar, and it can scan various everyday items.

Even items that don’t have any computer tech in them can be scanned.

What’s Zanzibar?

Zanzibar is a sort of a sensing platform that combines capacitive sensing to track finger movements with Near Field Communication aka NFC to detect objects.

The platform is flexible both systemically and literally as well. All you have to do is hook it up to any tablet or screen and unroll the mat.

It can sense objects just by placing an NFC sticker on their bottoms, and this will result in tracking them spatially and even vertically, identifying the items that are stacked on top of each other.

Zanzibar provides benefits for learning, playing and beyond

Just take a look at the video demonstration above to see an ad hoc programming lesson that’s made from stringing command blocks together. It’s pretty similar to the old-school learn-to-code sets.

We don’t believe that this is limited only to kids’ activities and we don’t see any reason for which you wouldn’t be able to use this at work for modeling real model objects in digital space for architects, home designers, civic planners and so on.

Zanzibar still has quite a long way to go before it becomes a consumer product, and the team that developed the platform will present their findings at the ACM CHI Conference which is set to take place later this month in Montreal. If your curiosity has risen and demands more info, you can check out their paper here.