Microsoft’s Holodesk Concept Brings Virtual Reality To 3D Space (Video!)

Microsoft introduced a concept called ‘Holodesk’ that allows you to actually ‘pick up’ objects created by software and manipulate them.

Microsoft holodesk concept demo

Microsoft Demonstrates Holodesk Concept With Kinect

Microsoft demonstrated what it calls the ‘Holodesk’ on the video above. It is a see through display combined with the Kinect’s motion tracking technology that creates the illusion of handling virtual objects in real life.

To a user who is looking through the see through display, it seems as though they are handling virtual objects by touching and moving them around. The simplest way to explain how it happens is that it uses Kinect’s camera to judge the depth and motion and adjusts the display accordingly. It ‘sees’ your hands moving and places the virtual objects on the screen to match those movements.

When you look at the video, you can see that the person is actually moving his hands in thin air. There’s no haptic or ‘touch/force’ feedback that the user can feel. The illusion is limited to the eyes.

Microsoft has made it clear that this is not the first experiment of its kind that is out there. However, the official statement says that it is definitely one of most the realistic ones.

Holodesk Not Ready For Commercial Release

Since this is barely out of the laboratory, the performance is not smooth at all and the placement of the virtual objects is also not always accurate. But as technology progresses, it can find uses in gaming, telepresence (similar to a video call but in 3D) and for trying out various new devices before they are actually created with real material.

Over all, this does have very futuristic connotations but it needs more time to grow in to something that can be developed as a commercial product. Till then, it is fun to think about all the possible things that we can do with it. For one thing, if you are playing a computer game, you can manually move your tiny tanks and soldiers around by picking them up and placing them on a virtual 3D plane.

Published: Friday, October 21st, 2011 Last Modified: October 21, 2011

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