Ever since I saw the movie Minority Report I wondered when we'd be getting similar technology in the real world. We're already seeing the large touch screens being used in TV shows like N.C.I.S. and Hawaii Five-O. The Microsoft Kinect, and similar platforms, gave us our first glimpse of such capabilities and since its introduction, two years ago, people have hacked and modified the technology to do all kinds of things beyond the simple scope of gaming. Examples include: controlling a quadrocopter; triggering a marketing display as people walk past; and using two of them to create 3D images for 3D printing.
In the meantime, the techies over at Microsoft haven't been idle. They've been working on HoloDesk (http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/holodesk/) and while it's no Star Trek holodeck, it's certainly a step in that direction. They've also been using multiple Kinects to generate 3D maps of rooms that can be seen and manipulated without the need for special glasses. According to the Microsoft Research group, the next big thing will be "looking at pixels in the air without a screen".
Sounds great; where do I sign up? Of course, what some of us really want is virtual golf course technology that accurately represents the physics _ right down to those nasty hooks and slices _ and does so inexpensively for use in our own homes.
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