Microsoft Introduces Augmented Reality System "MirageTable"
May 10, 2012 6:14 PM
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Microsoft's new MirageTable could be a lot like Star Trek's holodeck, which is a simulated reality facility on starships and starbases
A potential use for MirageTable includes new ways to play video games
Microsoft has created an augmented reality system called MirageTable that allows people share a 3D workspace despite being in two separate locations.
MirageTable consists of a curved, white piece of plastic that sits in front of the person using it. A 3D video projector, which is an Acer H5360, beams images onto the plastic while a
depth camera sensor tracks the movements of each person and object at each end. The entire system is powered by two computers connected by a network.
The users are also required to wear shutter glasses (NVIDIA 3D Vision) while using MirageTable so that they can see the image being projected in 3D.
"In our system, the user can hold a virtual object, move it, or knock it down, since all virtual and real objects participate in a
real-world physics simulation
," said the Microsoft research team. "The unique benefit of this set-up is that two users share not only the 3D image of each other, but also the tabletop task space in front of them."
The researchers have already demonstrated MirageTable in a video online, where two people are in different locations, but use MirageTable to build a design out of blocks with one another.
While MirageTable looks promising, there are still a few bugs to work out. For instance, the system can only capture the front-side of objects, which leads to gaps. It also only allows people to scoop objects from underneath to hold them.
"Simulating realistic grasping behaviours given depth camera input remains an open research problem," said the Microsoft research team. "While we are still very far from an implementation of a working version of Star Trek's Holodeck, MirageTable shows the potential of the projector/depth camera system to simulate such scenarios."
A potential use for MirageTable includes new ways to play video games.
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Microsoft v. Motorola: using or abusing the legal system?
5/11/2012 2:55:43 PM
There is no end in sight to the corporate patent wars in the courts today. A few months ago I wrote about the ongoing battle between Motorola and Apple and Samsung and Apple. These cases were centered primarily around the possible misuse of FRAND patents, in both infringement and as a legal tactic. While patent infringement should be discouraged, the issue here is that the major technology companies are using these patents as a legal tactic because not only is there much at stake financially for each party, neither company wants its products taken out of the market. In recent news, Motorola and Microsoft have also been battling it out in courts both here and abroad, with a ruling given in Germany and an initial ruling in Washington D.C. The challenge in the Motorola/Microsoft cases is how to align all of the rulings so that a clear precedent is set for similar types of cases. This also may deter companies from using the courts in a similar manner because the “gray area” will be more defined.
"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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