Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Mark D. Gross, Scott E. Hudson, Ivan Poupyrev


The miniaturization of projection technology has enabled a new class of lightweight mobile devices with embedded projectors. Projection engines as small as a postage stamp are currently being embedded in thousands of mobile devices. Mobile projector-based devices differ in very fundamental ways from the display-based devices we commonly use. Mobile projectors can be carried with the user and project imagery into almost any space, projected content is visible to multiple users and supports social interaction, physical objects and surfaces can be augmented with projected content, and embedded projectors can enable new form-factors for mobile displays.

This research investigates the potential of mobile projectors as a new platform for human-computer interaction. I aim to demonstrate that the unique affordances created by the miniaturization of projection technology can inspire new and compelling interaction with single-users, multi-users, the environment, and projector-embedded objects. This research presents a comprehensive survey of mobile projector-based interaction – documenting interaction with historic projection devices; introducing novel interaction techniques, metaphors, and principles for mobile projector-based systems; providing implementation details of functional prototype devices using mobile projectors; presenting technical innovations, such as the development of specialized projectors and custom marker tracking algorithms; and detailing results from preliminary user testing with the prototype systems created. This research forms a systematic investigation of the past, the present, and a possible future for interaction using mobile projectors.