Founded upon open source plans for optical touch tables, the designers of the Playsurface hope to develop a versatile touchscreen table-top suitable for a variety of "blazingly fast" applications (yes, including gaming) supporting multpiple users. Though purely an input and display device, the table can be had with an integrated PC as an extra. If the project goes ahead (funding is currently sought through Kickstarter), its designers claim it would be as easy to assemble as Ikea furniture. It's not a bad comparison: the flat-packed, affordable Playsurface is a product that its makers at Templeman Automation hope will close the disconnect between the popularity and availability of table-top touchscreens.
Could this be the killer app for ultra-spec tablets? Microsoft Surface researcher David Brown is working on a marvelous space app that shows off not only the multi-touch power of Microsoft Surface, but also the computational grunt of the Samsung SUR40 on which it runs - not to mention the majesty of the solar system we live in and the Universe beyond.
We've heard of experimental contact lenses
that can non-invasively monitor the blood sugar levels of diabetes sufferers before, but where prior research relied on chemical reactions inducing color-change in the lens, new joint research by the University of Washington and Microsoft Research aims to incorporate electronics into such lenses to report blood sugar levels wirelessly. Gizmag spoke to Desney Tan, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research Connections, to find out what sets this work apart.
Does anyone remember the animated version of Star Trek
from the 1970s? The Emmy-Award-winning series was the very first outing for the now familiar Holodeck, although it was called the recreation room back then. Despite some landmark advances in holographic technology in the years since - such as the University of Tokyo's Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display
- nothing has come close to offering the kind of physical interactivity with virtual objects in a 3D environment promised by the collective imaginations of sci-fi writers of the past. While we're not at the Holodeck level just yet, members of the Sensors and Devices group at Microsoft Research have developed a new system called HoloDesk that allows users to pick up, move and even shoot virtual 3D objects, plus the system recognizes and responds to the presence of inanimate real-world objects like a sheet of paper or an upturned cup.
The race to claim the bounty offered by Adafruit
for open source drivers for Microsoft’s Kinect
has been run and won. The winner is hacker Hector Martin whose achievement of producing drivers to pull depth and RGB camera data from a Kinect is made even more impressive by the fact that it came just three hours after the European launch of the device.
Microsoft has announced that its controller-less accessory for the Xbox 360, dubbed Project Natal, will ship by the end of 2010. Unveiled in June 2009
, Project Natal is the Redmond company’s attempt to out-Wii the Wii. Instead of a hand-held controller, wireless or otherwise, Project Natal uses a 3D sensing unit on top of your TV to read your gestures, recognize your face or other objects, and even respond to your voice. Project Natal is among the latest examples of devices that are controlled by so-called “natural user interfaces”.