It’s not nearly as big as the Holodeck, but a Microsoft Research project called “HoloDesk” will look very familiar to Star Trek fans. Except this is a real-life, working prototype that uses a Kinect sensor to let people interact with 3D virtual images as if they were physical objects.

The project is out of the Sensors and Devices Group at Microsoft Research Cambridge. Writing about the project today, Microsoft blogger Steve Clayton points out that it’s not the only experiment in digital 3D interaction, but he notes that the use of beam splitters and a specialized graphics processing systems sets this Microsoft project apart.

It’s the latest in a long series of Microsoft Research projects exploring the area of natural and alternative user interfaces. Earlier this week, the company showed a prototype called PocketTouch for interacting with device through fabric, such as a pocket or bag.

For more detail on the HoloDesk, here’s the description from Microsoft Research …

HoloDesk is a novel interactive system combining an optical see through display and Kinect camera to create the illusion that users are directly interacting with 3D graphics. A virtual image of a 3D scene is rendered through a half silvered mirror and spatially aligned with the real-world for the viewer. Users easily reach into an interaction volume displaying the virtual image. This allows the user to literally get their hands into the virtual display. A novel real-time algorithm for representing hands and other physical objects, which are sensed by the Kinect inside this volume, allows physically realistic interaction between real and virtual 3D objects.

But it may be a while before you get to try something like this yourself. As with most Microsoft Research projects, this is only a prototype for now, but Microsoft’s product teams often look to the company’s researchers for technologies to incorporate into their products.

Comments

  • Guest

    this looks awesome

  • Guest

    this looks awesome

  • Anonymous

    So now Microsoft products truly are smoke and mirrors.

    • Guest

      Wow, were you able to come up with that all by yourself?

      • Anonymous

        No I had help, Microsoft’s help.  It wouldn’t be funny if it wasn’t true (in a sense).

        It’s also called a joke, lighten up and come off the balcony.  I promise I won’t make fun of Microsoft anymore. :-D

      • Anonymous

        No I had help, Microsoft’s help.  It wouldn’t be funny if it wasn’t true (in a sense).

        It’s also called a joke, lighten up and come off the balcony.  I promise I won’t make fun of Microsoft anymore. :-D

    • Guest

      Wow, were you able to come up with that all by yourself?

  • Anonymous

    So now Microsoft products truly are smoke and mirrors.

  • Guest

    that is truly awesome. think of how the third dimension can really bring human computer interaction to another level. I am seriously blown away by this innovative technology

  • Holophone3d

    Sweet!  I’ve been waiting to see something like this for a long time.  I love the integration of lots of technology like this – so much so I wrote my own app to do something like this.  If you want to see a great example of perspective based virtual holograms on your Windows Phone, check out Holophone3D. http://holophone3d.com/2011/10/08/new-holophone3d-v1-5-update-is-out/

  • Holophone3d

    Sweet!  I’ve been waiting to see something like this for a long time.  I love the integration of lots of technology like this – so much so I wrote my own app to do something like this.  If you want to see a great example of perspective based virtual holograms on your Windows Phone, check out Holophone3D. http://holophone3d.com/2011/10/08/new-holophone3d-v1-5-update-is-out/

  • http://twitter.com/HoloDesk HoloDesk

    New Zealand based ICE AV Technology launched The HoloDesk as a 74″inch DJ Mixer surface dual imagining touch surface at the now famous Earls Court concert with Deadmau5 using The HoloDesk from ICE AV  in the first time sell out concert that evening on the 18 Dec 2010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hegqRGDQ_OA

  • SpeakGrace

    One of the best potential applications of all wasn’t mentioned…preparing for a complicated surgical procedure by downloading detailed scans of the patient to allow a risk-free practice surgery before cutting into a patient, or even just to teach medical students surgery. It could also be used to train for almost any complicated task that had high risks when mistakes were made.

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