A SEE-THROUGH 3D computer display was shown at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) 2013 conference in California today, presenting a screen that enables users to reach 'through' it and manipulate digital content such as files and data with their hands.
Dubbed Spacetop, the 3D computer project is led by Jinha Lee, who interned on the project with Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group.
In his blog, Lee details how Spacetop is a "3D spatial operating environment" that allows the user to directly interact with his or her virtual desktop. As a result, the user can reach into the projected 3D output space with his/her hands to directly manipulate the windows.
"Users can casually open up the see-through 3D desktop and type on the keyboard or use a trackpad as in traditional 2D operating environment," Lee said in the blog post. "Windows or files are perceived to be placed in a 3D space between a screen and the input plane. The user can lift up his hands to reach the displayed windows and arrange them in this 3D space."
The device works via a combination of a transparent display and 3D gesture detection algorithms that are placed in the input space. Lee explains that 3D rendering is achieved without tethering or burdening users with 3D glasses.
As a result, Spacetop liberates the user allowing them to type, click, draw in 2D and directly manipulate interface elements that float in the 3D space above the keyboard.
The project is just that, a project, so neither Lee nor Microsoft predicted where the system will go from here and if it can be produced on a mass scale. Nevertheless, it is a very exciting prospect. Check out a video from Lee's Vimeo page below to see the Spacetop in action. µ