Trend Blog

What if you could change your appearance on a whim? Not with cumbersome masks or complicated makeup, but with something much more fluid and innovative—specifically something light.

Projection mapping has been around for at least a decade as an art and entertainment form. It allows the user to control how light falls upon and enhances a surface. Traditionally, it has been used to manipulate architecture, domes or sculptures, but recently, we’ve begun seeing projects where the body itself is the canvas.

While it may seem outlandish to some, projecting on our bodies is a natural next step for our hectic 99Lives schedules. It’s a simple way to transform oneself without making any permanent changes. Imagine going from day to night, from office to outing, with the flip of a (light) switch. In the future, this could be the new normal.

The main impediment right now is, of course, that projected light is still sourced from a separate object. Although projectors continue to shrink, they are still inconvenient to tote around. But as the market for wearables expands, we foresee a future where you can be your own light source—or a tiny one can be woven into your fully wired clothing. In fact, the implications for projection technology go far beyond manipulating your personal appearance. It opens up a world of possibilities of how both wearables and mobile computing could evolve. Instead of having a phone the size of a small notebook, we could just wear a piece of jewelry that projects an image from our mobile devices onto our bodies or any other surface, providing the information and access we crave.

Of course, it may be a while before we all become shape-shifters. But in the meantime, it’s fun to imagine a future full of infinite selves, fueled by light and tech rather than cosmetics.