Po-Motion takes interactive video projection to the masses

Most people wouldn’t guess that it’s possible to setup an interactive video projection for under $1,000, but Winnipeg-based Po-Motion Inc. makes it so.

Founded Dec. 1, 2010, Po-Motion offers a free software package for Mac and PC that will work with a Do-It-Yourself video projector system. Users set up a projector with a mirror reflecting the image on a 45-degree angle onto a floor or wall, and use a Web cam to watch how passers-by are interacting with the projection. Both the projector and the Webcam are connected to a computer running Po-Mo, which adjusts the video screen based on user movements.

An entry for our YouTube contest.

Founder Meghan Athavale had been creating visual displays for bands and DJs in Winnipeg when she decided to go the extra mile and make her content interactive. At first, she wasn’t sure what impact it would have after debuting it at a couple of night clubs.

“It’s really easy to impress drunk people,” she says. “So the first couple of times, it was just as if we didn’t have interaction.”

But Athavale knew she had something special after unveiling a 45-foot wall display featuring Alice in Wonderland characters and the ability to interact with the projection by sending text messages to a phone number. Po-Mo let event attendees know about certain key words that would trigger interactions, but also kept a few secret so that guests could experiment and earn a chance to win prizes.

“That just blew people away,” Athavale says. “It was mind blowing for a lot of people that you could do this stuff without buying really expensive technology.”

Although only 250 people were at the event, 1,000 different phone numbers interacted with the wall, she says. Guests were telling their friends about it, who’d text in a trigger command, and then have their friends at the location take pictures with their smartphones and share them.

Po-Mo’s software is a free download and it sells content for about $5 a scene, but it also makes many scenes available for free, such as this month’s Movember tie-in. The firm makes most of its revenue from doing branded content for paying clients.

But the firm will soon change its approach to a more user-generated focus soon. It will open up a community that allows users to make their own interactive video scenes and sell them over the Web site, collecting a small royalty on each sale.

“There’s no programming involved, you just need to upload the assets,” Athavale says. “If you can’t provide the artwork, then we’ll charge you a nominal fee and make it for you.”

The site has more than 2,000 active users and a client base of about 150 that regularly place orders. Customers include advertisers, educators, and a handful of artists that use it in performances or displays.

Po-Motion entered ITBusiness.ca’s ‘The 1,000 Minute’ contest on YouTube. Make your own one-minute elevator pitch for your tech startup and enter for your chance to win.

Brian JacksonBrian Jackson is the Associate Editor at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and check out the IT Business Facebook Page.
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