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Microsoft research wants to look at your walls and beam content onto them

Surroundweb is a 3D web browser turning your surfaces into web pages
Tue Mar 04 2014, 17:15

SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft's research department has unveiled a 3D web browser that displays content over multiple surfaces in a room.

Called Surroundweb, the software is peddled by Microsoft as an "immersive room experience". However, as far as we can see, it's simply a means of projecting different parts of a web page on different surfaces around a room.

Working closely with Kinect, Microsoft said that the software is able to adapt its appearance to objects present in a room, and interact using "natural user input", so it will map and remember your room, looking for the spots to which it can beam content.

microsoft surroundweb research preview

"Surroundweb enables least privilege for these immersive web pages by introducing two new abstractions: first, a Room Skeleton that enables least privilege for room rendering, unlike previous approaches that focus on inputs alone," Microsoft Research said in a blog post.

"Second, a Detection Sandbox that allows web pages to register content to show if an object is detected, but prevents the web server from knowing if the object is present."

It does sound a little creepy, but Microsoft promises that the software is safe and secured through its three privacy properties: detection privacy, rendering privacy, and interaction privacy protection, which run simultaneously while projecting webpages using object recognition and room display capabilities.

"After a one-time setup procedure that scans a room for projectable surfaces in about a minute, our prototype can render immersive multi-display web rooms at greater than 30 frames per second with up to 25 screens and up to a 1440x720 display," the research team added.

It's just research at this point, but given that Microsoft has already made gesture-based controls for the living room in the Xbox Kinect, we can't assume that it'll stay that way. µ


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