<-- Advertise here.

a novel display interface that allows simultaneous collaborative actions by multiple people, while each user perceives an equally-valid view & no-one has a "master position" over the displayed information. projected objects can be passed around the sphere by different gestural actions.

applications include photo-browsing, geographical mapping, the navigation of live omnidirectional camera images & a pong game.

watch a demonstration video after the break.

[link: research.microsoft.com (more technical videos available)|via news.zdnet.co.uk & seattlepi.nwsource.com|via techcrunch.com]

see also:
. globe4d
. science on a sphere
. Jeff Han's multi-touch surface demonstration.



that's great, looks way more 60ies science-fiction. might take a little longer until it'll be available homebrew, I guess...

Some guys from Munich showed us a real volumetric megapixel-3D-display at CeBIT (using an oscillating surface and thus quite loud and menacing to look at, due to its robustness...) It was built into a acrylic glass dome (twice the size of Microsofts device I'd guess), and we discussed adding multi-touch to that dome, so users could do simple selections in 3D-space, for example by defining a surface via 3 points, or a line by its points of intersection with the dome (would be great with CATscans or something likewise). But at the time they had bigger problems to solve than interactivity, for example preventing the device from ripping itself apart ;) It seems to be quite an engineering challenge to oscillate a half-square-metre surface at 100Hz...
Anyway, until those devices drop some orders of magnitude in price, I'd like to see that multitouch-sphere combined with shutter-goggles and headtrackers...

Fri 01 Aug 2008 at 5:18 PM

For the curious, the comment above is probably referencing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DIURQQn8H0

I hope the API for the Sphere handles projection onto a spherical surface; application programmers won't mind working in 2d or 3d, as long as it's in some sort of flat space -- but in polar coordinates? I'm thinking it needs to be like recent window managers that handle turning normal applications into "3d" surfaces, stretching them, warping them, rotating them, etc. without the application's knowledge. Then again, you gain something with the concept of "wrapping" around the sphere, which you lose if you just project flat 2d onto it.

Sat 02 Aug 2008 at 2:46 AM

unordained: yeah, that's the device I meant. The video doesn't do it justice, though :) -- but I'm glad to see that it also worked in public, we just came by their booth randomly one evening when they were debuggig it frantically...

Sat 02 Aug 2008 at 4:18 PM

The actual spherical projection system is a Magic Planet from Global Imagination:
They've been doing these systems for a while. The Microsoft folks just figured out the touch interface...ok, "just" probably isn't valid.

I spoke with the CEO of Global Imagination quite a bit last week and they are definitely working on lots of interesting new ideas for this product.

If your interested in spherical projection you also might check out NOAA's Science on a Sphere system that uses 4 projectors to create an image on a much larger sphere:

Thu 07 Aug 2008 at 5:02 AM
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