Have you had your share of augmented reality this month? Between CMU’s OmniTouch, Microsoft’s HoloDesk, and Metaio’s updated AR app, you could be forgiven. But trust me, you’ll want to watch this video of Microsoft Research prototypes using pico projectors and Kinect cameras.
The ability to quickly build and track a 3D model of the environment (as we and Bill Gates both found amazing) is combined with the ability to display synthetic information onto the real environment. The result? The digital simulation of the world is overlaid on the world, in real time, and it’s utterly insane.
Look, just watch. It’s six minutes you’ll be glad you wasted:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=frGEzlrhve0 w=640]
The clincher is right there at the end. Virtual particles pouring off the desk and into a real drawer. The pico projector could be a little more wide-angle, but they’re getting there. Perhaps a 3D VR display a la Vuzix (I never thought I’d be recommending one) is the trick. Can you imagine playing a game where your body, hands, and fingers are all accurately tracked, and the line between digital and real items is blurred?
It’s one more step towards a holodeck, but right now it’s still just collaborative research between Microsoft Research and Lancaster and Newcastle Universities (created for the Pervasive conference at Newcastle). Like so many things at Microsoft Research and Labs, it would require millions in development to make into a product, but it’s too cool not to share.