Apple may be stealing the spotlight lately with their latest iPhone 4S, but Microsoft has an incredible research project in the works - dubbed the Holodesk.
The Holodesk literally allows you to physically interact with virtual holographic objects with your hands! The whole concept reminds me and could be a stepping stone to the Holodeck from Star Trek Next Generation... WOW!
The HoloDesk, as Microsoft has dubbed it, uses an overhead screen to project a 2D image down through a half-silvered beam-splitter onto the desktop below. A webcam situated between the screen and beam-splitter and facial recognition software track the users gaze allowing the user to view objects projected onto the desk as if they were really there—move your head and the objects perspective changes to match.
An attached Kinect tracks the user's movements within the desk-space, allowing him to manipulate the projected items. As you can see from the video above, objects can be stacked, rolled, and juggled as if they were really there. And it doesn't just respond to hands—physical objects like bowls and paper sheets can also be used to move items in the system.Pretty amazing huh...? Check out the demo video below: