Microsoft is often criticized for not being innovative enough or cutting edge enough. They are seldom given enough credit for their succeses with the focus more often than not on their failures. Every now and then however, Microsoft drops a little future on us like a ton of bricks.
This HoloDesk demonstration, from Microsoft Research, uses a half-silvered mirror and a Kinect sensor to “see” your hands in a 3D space and then project visible objects on and around them, allowing you to manipulate virtual spheres and objects and generally get all Star Trekky (ok maybe not quite that good). For those that didn’t catch it – uses a simple “Kinect” sensor. That’s the same thing powering Microsoft’s run away, fastest ever selling, consumer device introduced a year ago that connects to the leading, no real competition, leading game console the Xbox 360.
According to the Microsoft Research Blog, this is only one of the upcoming 3D projects coming out of Redmond. Writes researcher Steve Clayton:
“I won’t attempt to describe what it does in great detail, except to say that with Holodesk you can manipulate 3-D, virtual images with your hands. Whilst this is only a research project at this stage, I can envisage future applications in areas such as board gaming, rapid prototype design or perhaps even telepresence, where users would share a single 3D scene viewed from different perspectives. I know it sounds very Star Trek but this is not science fiction”