Microsoft's enormous research and development program may not be well known, but that could be about to change. Stunning new research projects unveiled at a TechForum event in January show new designs like holographic 3-D displays and see-through monitors.
These prototypes may never become consumer products, but they integrate popular functions and help develop other uses and ideas that will show up in gadgets. Take Microsoft Kinect, for example. The sensors used in Kinect have so far proved extremely capable, to the point that people keep hacking new uses out of them. It should come as no surprise then that Microsoft engineers are also using Kinect-like powers to create something called the Holoreflector.
It's a kind of augmented reality display using a giant mirror and giant LCD panel. It even uses what Microsoft is calling sensor fusion to combine the sensor uses on the Kinect and on a Windows Phone. (PLEASE SCROLL DOWN: Video just below!)
Next is the 3-D desktop with interactive display and see-through OLED monitor. This one may never become viable as a consumer product, but wow, it is amazing to look at. It's a Samsung made prototype monitor, and there's a keyboard and trackpad like any work station. But, superimposed on top of that is the 3-D desktop that allows a person to interact with the display elements and manipulate them as if they were in the real world.
Finally, there is the Illumishare remote shared-space device. It looks like an overhead projector, and it shines on a surface people want to share digitally. It's kind of like video chat, but the space both parties are using is shared. The last video is seeing displays, and it's a smart display that can see infrared light in front of it and display images like a regular monitor.
Tell us in the comments if your mind is as blown as ours!