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MirageTable: Microsoft presents augmented reality device -
May 9, 2012
"Microsoft has shown off an augmented reality system that allows users at different locations to work together on tabletop activities, sharing objects which they can both handle. The MirageTable was demonstrated at a conference in Austin, Texas and is outlined on the firm's research site. Researchers said it could "fool" the eye to suggest both parties were using a "seamless 3D shared task space". The team admitted more work was needed before the system could be marketed. Avoiding bulky equipment The MirageTable uses a 3D-video projector to beam images onto a sheet of curved white plastic placed in front of the user. At each end one of Microsoft's Kinect depth camera sensors is used to track the direction of each person's gaze as well as to capture the shape and appearance of objects placed on the surface and the participant sitting behind them. Users are also required to wear shutter glasses in order to see the projected image in three dimensions. Two computers linked by a network connection are required to power the experience. The researchers said they were "motivated by a simple idea: can we enable the user to interact with 3D digital objects alongside real objects in the same physically realistic way and without wearing any additional trackers, gloves or gear." Block building They claimed success stating that the experience was a significant improvement on current video conferencing technologies. "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... The unique benefit of this setup is that two users share not only the 3D image of each other, but also the tabletop task space in front of them." A video posted online shows two people working at different locations to build an object out of blocks, with one researcher measuring the distance between the pieces placed by the other participant. A research paper also noted that the technology could be used to...
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