Microsoft Research working on "HoloDesk" project

Microsoft is adapting its Xbox 360 based Kinect motion controller camera to be used for more than just console gaming. A new post on the Microsoft Research site shows that the Kinect device is part of a new project that Microsoft is calling the "HoloDesk". The name suggests something similar to Star Trek: The Next Generation's HoloDeck. Indeed, the HoloDesk is about as close as you can get to creating real, interactive 3D environments with today's technology.

The HoloDesk uses a screen that sits above a flat surface. In between the screen and the bottom is a beam splitter which helps to create the 3D effect when you view the objects through the beam splitter's surface. The Kinect camera is used for both face tracking of the person using the HoloDesk along with the hands. In short, the combination of all these elements as well as others allows the HoloDesk user to appear to be touching and moving the 3D objects on the screen.

The video below shows off the HoloDesk's various uses. While it certainly can be used to create cool 3D games (imagine the alien chess game in Star Wars: A New Hope come to live) it could also be used for more practical applications . One possible use is being able to make and then operate virtual prototypes of hardware devices to see if they will work before an expensive real world hardware prototype is built. It could also be used for physics simulations and even for teleconferencing.

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13 Comments

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Am I the only one that laughed that the first thing he's doing is cupping some balls?

I really need to stop drinking and reading tech blogs /derp

stump52 said,
Am I the only one that laughed that the first thing he's doing is cupping some balls?

I really need to stop drinking and reading tech blogs /derp


No, you just have to stop being immature

Virtual toys! =D If they can give objects some weight with some type of electrical field current to the skin they got it made!

Go play in the digital box kids, we have tons of toys in there.

brink668 said,
Virtual toys! =D If they can give objects some weight with some type of electrical field current to the skin they got it made!

If we ever get to the level of Star Trek holodecks... Well, there'd be no reason to ever leave one...

Xilo said,

If we ever get to the level of Star Trek holodecks... Well, there'd be no reason to ever leave one...

And if we an shrink the world well... not the world, but shrink people proportionally we have more resources!!

The Stark said,
That's impossible. Microsoft doesn't innovate. /s
Microsoft has always innovated. It's the, taking the innovation and getting a product out of it, part they seem to struggle with.

virtorio said,
Microsoft has always innovated. It's the, taking the innovation and getting a product out of it, part they seem to struggle with.

Like kinect?

Xerax said,

Like kinect?

No, like the Courier and a ton of other things that come out of Research and go nowhere. I never said they were incapable, I said they struggle. Kinect is a success.

The Stark said,
That's impossible. Microsoft doesn't innovate. /s

If I'm not mistaken, copying and pasting files is pretty innovated and file replacement options(like replace, rename, skip etc) was also pretty innovated. Apple only recently got that file replacement stuff recently.

I hope they've patented the crap out of the holodesk before Apple tries to patent it and sue everyone.

virtorio said,
Microsoft has always innovated. It's the, taking the innovation and getting a product out of it, part they seem to struggle with.

sigh...People can't understand sarcasm even when a tag (/s) is used...

sviola said,

sigh...People can't understand sarcasm even when a tag (/s) is used...

It was obvious you were being sarcastic (even if you didn't add the /s), I was agreeing with you that Microsoft is innovative.