Microsoft has begun testing an augmented reality device that allows for 3D teleconferencing interaction.
The MirageTable is an augmented reality system that allows for the manipulation of virtual objects.
Using motion sensor cameras and a curved projection board, researchers were able to create an interactive 3D environment. An early prototype of the device was shown off in a demonstration in Austin, Texas.
Microsoft says the new device will allow users to create virtual 3D models for interactive gaming with real and virtual objects, and make a 3D teleconferencing experience that allows for a shared work space.
"While we are still very far from an implementation of a working version of Sutherland’s 'Ultimate Display' or Star Trek's Holodeck, MirageTable shows the potential of the projector/depth camera system to simulate such scenarios and move the interactions from computer screens to the space around us," said the researchers in a published paper on their findings.
The MirageTable uses Kinect camera motion sensors to capture movement and shapes. The device records objects which are then projected onto a curved whiteboard that allows for augmented implementation.
Users wear 3D glasses that "fool" the eye into thinking three-dimensional shapes lay in front of them on the whiteboard.
Currently, the device is only able to capture the front face of objects, leading to flawed textures and gaps in the 3D shapes. Technicians believe this can be fixed with the use of additional cameras.
Researchers also admitted to having difficulty creating realistic grasping behaviours, which limit users to scooping and catching objects.
The team pointed to a 1965 essay from Ivan Sutherland and technology from Star Trek as inspiration for the device.
Microsoft is not the only firm developing augmented reality hardware. Google recently began work on a set of glasses which display locational and social networking data.
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