Microsoft Research has made a breakthrough in the way in which we can interact with the virtual world and created the HoloDesk. It is all down to 3D tracking using the Kinect and some clever computer graphics.
Who can’t have envied the crew of the Enterprise as they got to play in a completely synthetic world, courtesy of the HoloDeck. Well, so far the HoloDeck is just science fiction but Microsoft Research has taken an obvious, but still impressive, step towards creating a HoloDeck – the HoloDesk.
What it does is easy to describe. It allows the user to interact with a 3D projection of objects. The user can pick virtual objects up, move them around and generally play with them as if they were real objects. What might not be so clear from the video, is the fact that there is no tactile feedback involved. The user doesn’t feel the virtual objects in any way whatsoever. Given the remarkable properties of human perception, however, it is possible that some sort of phantom touch experience might well develop if used over time. This is because when the visual sense tells you you are touching something the other lesser senses get into line to support it.