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.