Microsoft Research shows off MirageTable project

We've had conference calls, both for audio and for video, for a while now and in the past few years more and more businesses are collaborating on projects remotely, thanks in part to cloud-based services. Now it looks like Microsoft Research is trying to take that kind of collaboration to the next level. The company has revealed a new project called MirageTable, that combines Microsoft's Kinect device with other applications.

The MirageTable uses the Kinect motion sensing camera combined with a 3D projector. A person also wears 3D stereoscopic glasses for the effect to work. A curved surface is then used to allow the person to interact with virtual images from the projector, such as tossing a ball into bowling pins.

The most interesting application for this project is for two way collaboration. As shown in the video, two people can not only see and speak to each other via the MirageTable, each person can also interact with virtual objects that can be seen and even "touched" by the other. The idea of two people creating and collaborating on the same 3D model while each person is thousands of miles away is certainly one of the many ways this kind of technology could be used.

The MirageTable is still in its early stages but we wouldn't be surprised to see this kind of product coming into a real world environment sometime in the future.

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25 Comments

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Yep... no innovation here. Move along. Move along...

Seriously though MS, if you want to have all of these research products bear fruit, you have to bring a worthy product to the market.

Drewidian said,
Yep... no innovation here. Move along. Move along...

Seriously though MS, if you want to have all of these research products bear fruit, you have to bring a worthy product to the market.

Let us know when you come up with anything better than what they make.

MrXXIV said,

Let us know when you come up with anything better than what they make.

I think he has a fair point, they throw a lot of money into research and development on stuff that we never end up in our hands.

Mark said,

I think he has a fair point, they throw a lot of money into research and development on stuff that we never end up in our hands.

I agree, they make awesome stuff, and its sad that people still call them copy cats or non innovative company.

Zain Adeel said,

sorry was supposed to quote Mark

I didn't say nothing comes to market, the majority of it doesn't. They do a lot of stuff! The Kinect is nice but as simrat stated, they bought that first then developed it.

MrXXIV said,

Let us know when you come up with anything better than what they make.

I was being sarcastic. I love that they are investing in the next generation technology. I'm truly amazed at some of the things they do; however, they need to invest not only in the pure research, they need to build a strategy around some of this technology and bring it to market. So long as they don't ever plan to bring these innovations to market, its just vaporware.

simrat said,
They purchased Kinect.

Primesense, which I'm assuming you're referring to, provides the inputs into the Kinect's engine. I'm sure after having that the skeleton processing and api's just dropped out of the sky into some exec's lap at Microsoft.

Mark said,

I think he has a fair point, they throw a lot of money into research and development on stuff that we never end up in our hands.

Just because it doesn't end up in market, does't mean it's a waste. They're a tech innovation company. People learn and research there, just like professors do at universities. It's not just for releasing for public consumption.

A lot of it actually does end up in the back end of their future products though (such as the Kinect did). By patenting their innovations, they can get paid for other companies that may want to use their findings. No point in selling something unless there's going to be a large market for it. They carefully plan these things before deciding it's right to move forward for public use.

MrHumpty said,

Primesense, which I'm assuming you're referring to, provides the inputs into the Kinect's engine. I'm sure after having that the skeleton processing and api's just dropped out of the sky into some exec's lap at Microsoft.

exactly. Im talking about the programming going behind it all. Which is responsible for every research thingy MS is doing. (Zune Interface (Metro) is a product of this same Research right?)

simrat said,

They purchased Kinect.

And how far along in development was "kinect" before Microsoft purchased it and turned it into a best selling product? My guess is it was at the prototype stage at best, but maybe it was just a patented idea when Microsoft got it... does anybody know?

Drewidian said,
Yep... no innovation here. Move along. Move along...

Seriously though MS, if you want to have all of these research products bear fruit, you have to bring a worthy product to the market.

Years ago, Bell labs was looked up to because while they produced research products that were sold, they produced many projects that were not sold but advanced technology and science. C (programming language), the graphics interface that is the root of all modern UIs, Unix, advancements in physics, and so much more.

I guess if you don't take your research projects, make them flashy and pretty, then hold a media circus advertising those projects, advancements in tech don't mean much any more.

wow wow, the amount of bashing is too damn high! I just answered Microsoft purchased it, but never said MS dint further improved it.

j2006 said,

Just because it doesn't end up in market, does't mean it's a waste. They're a tech innovation company. People learn and research there, just like professors do at universities. It's not just for releasing for public consumption.

A lot of it actually does end up in the back end of their future products though (such as the Kinect did). By patenting their innovations, they can get paid for other companies that may want to use their findings. No point in selling something unless there's going to be a large market for it. They carefully plan these things before deciding it's right to move forward for public use.

Absolutely. And let's be honest here, this MirageTable is nowhere near ready for prime time. Same with a TON of other things that Microsoft Research is working on. They aren't necessarily working on things that will be ready for market in a few years, but maybe 10 years down the line we'll see something like this make its way into an industry or market. Once it's mature. Maybe integrated into another product or service. You never know. But to criticize them for not rushing things to market that clearly are not ready is silly.

Drewidian said,
Yep... no innovation here. Move along. Move along...

Seriously though MS, if you want to have all of these research products bear fruit, you have to bring a worthy product to the market.

MS Research comes to market all the time, it just doesn't usually have a Microsoft brand name on the technology.

Your computer you are using right now, or phone, has Microsoft Research technology that was developed and released 'freely' to the industry.

The GPUs in ALL computers and Phones have and use Microsoft technology, in addition to various chipset designs and CPU architecture modifications. Even the Cortex ARM in Apple's products are using Microsoft hardware technology given to the ARM project.

And this goes from low level hardware all the way up to even games, as OpenGL and CUDA and OpenCL use Microsoft reference technologies for things like GP-GPU technologies and even the shader languages used, that are a direct port from the Microsoft shader languages.

Why Microsoft gets 'beaten' publically because they don't always DIRECTLY profit from their research is just amazing. When it comes to technology and sharing 'ideas', they have added more 'free' technology to the world than all the FOSS projects in the world combined.

Then, often in the same breath, they are then demonized for the technology they release under their brand name and don't freely release the source code, with some mis-understanding that source code is magical.

Source code is irrelevant if you are given new ideas and reference designs, as the source code alone would be worthless without the understanding of the technology.

Look at the NT OS model and kernel, the source code is not available, but the concepts and reference design of how it works and why can do things Linux and OS X and other OS technologies cannot are available freely to anyone that would want to use them.