Technology On The Rise With 3D Desktop, SpaceTop Combining A 3D Environment and 3D Gesture Control
If you’re like me and read about new technology, startups, gadgets and creative ways of using technology, the thought of something innovating created at Microsoft pales in comparison to companies like Apple or Samsung these days. Although, some of Microsoft’s developments don’t always hit the mass market. One good example I remember is Microsoft Surface 1.0 tabletop (renamed to PixelSense), which was started in 2001, announced at the 2007 All Things D conference and released in 2008. The original MS Surface 1.0 tabletop never hit the mainstream consumer market and was primarily used by commercial industries (hotels, casinos).
Yesterday, Jinha Lee, gave a TED talk about SpaceTop that was created during and after his internship at Microsoft Applied Science. Lee is an interaction designer and researcher, an MIT grad, that came up with ZeroN, a levitating ball and Beyond, a collapsible input device for 3D direct manipulation beyond the screen. His latest project, SpaceTop with Alex Olwal, Hiroshi Ishii, Cati Boulanger, combines 2D and 3D interactions. Use the desktop as you normally would or lift your hand up to reach into the screen and interact with objects using gesture controls with your hands (video below).
SpaceTop, a system that integrates conventional desktop interfaces and spatial 3D interactions in a single workspace.
How Is This Possible?
It uses a pair of depth cameras and a transparent display integrating 3D interactions with traditional input devices (keyboards, trackpads). For gesture control, the top down camera tracks the index finger for pinching or multi-touch gestures. For head/face tracking, there’s a facing depth camera that tracks head movements as well.
It’s still in the early stages of development and the tracking cameras are a bit clunky and need refinements, but perhaps one day this might be in the consumer market.
“It shouldn’t be in the hands of scientists, it should be in the hands of normal people. It’s really important to have that eye when we think about what we want to do with this to design a beautiful world. It could be anything when the power of digital escapes the screen but it’s really our responsibility to design this together.”
– Jinha Lee
ZeroN – Levitated Interaction Element
Beyond – Collapsible Input Device for Direct 3D Manipulation Beyond The Screen
SpaceTop / Microsoft Research
- Microsoft Research – Applied Sciences Group: Interactive Displays: Behind The Screen Interaction Overlays (Video)
- ExtremeTech – Microsoft Research shows off see-through 3D display, Holoreflector, IllumiShare