Projection Mapping on Clothes Is Now Possible, Great for Making Memes

The human torso. Yes, it’s home to our hearts and our lungs and other useful goopy bits, but now, thanks to some technological innovations in projection mapping, it works great as a screen too. Or at least as a host to a T-shirt that can have digital images projected onto it.

Fast Company recently reported on new research from the Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory in Japan, which allows projection mapping—the technique that enables images to be projected onto irregular 3-D surfaces—to work not only on irregular 3-D surfaces, but on moving irregular 3-D surfaces.The two new elements of this type of projection mapping appear to be the use of a particular set of infrared markers, and an 8-bit digital image that’s projected at 1,000 fps. The decreased latency of the image, coupled with the infrared targets, allows the projected images to not be distorted by movements in the surfaces onto which they’re projected.

As the (obviously roughly translated) narrator says in the above video, the tech naturally lends itself to clothes. Because aren’t T-shirts really the ultimate meme medium? Imagine being able to change the cultural reference on your clothes on a whim; you could hang out with people who enjoy Star Wars, and then people who enjoy Star Trek on the same day without changing your T-shirt.

Torso memes aside, there are actually some pretty nifty uses for the technology: In theater, actors wouldn’t have to change costumes, and in fashion, designers could theoretically use one model to display multiple outfits. Or in everyday life, as a way to make memes on T-shirts, this is what this tech will most definitely be used for.

What do you think about this advancement in 3-D projection mapping? Are you excited with the idea of turning your shirt into what is effectively yet another screen? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory

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