Holographic Video Meeting
Virtual Office Devices from Microsoft to feature holographic video meetings....
Microsoft have plans to re-invent the way we hold virtual meetings. In May, the company submitted a patent for “Virtual Office Devices” which will allow users to hold holographic video meetings.
Although the patent is rather vague on the actual hardware and software that would be used, Microsoft did include 21 pictures and diagrams of how these meeting would take place.
Microsoft submitted the above diagram showing how the virtual meetings would be setup. The company envision the technology to eventually look like a scene from Star Wars.
Chief scientist and manager of Microsoft Live Labs (Live Labs is responsible for developing Photosynth, and a few other nifty Web apps), Patrice Simard is listed as one of the inventors.
Simard is known for developing many Microsoft patents including machine learning, activity detection, digital ink and a whiteboard imaging system.
Bloggers are already speculating that this technology could be included as an online service for Windows Live, enabling users with enough bandwidth to chat via a holographic video meeting.
Microsoft also applied for various other UI patents on interesting technologies. Patents such as US20090125824 – a “user interface with physics engine for natural gestural control.” The patent describes this as:
“A method for causing an action in response to user input, the method comprising the steps of:accepting a gesture from a user on a touch sensitive surface; determining a type of gesture that has been accepted by the touch sensitive surface using a sensor array and a single mechanical, momentary contact switch activated by the sensor array; and performing an action in response to the type of gesture that has been accepted, the action at least in part simulating behavior of a physically embodied object.”
A second patent submitted, US20090125811, is a “user interface that provides auditory feedback.”
This allows the computer to give associated beeps and other sounds in response to the gestures made on a gesture pad such as the one described in the “natural gestural control” patent.
During the Microsoft Surface demos at TechEd, Computerworld senior editor and Microsoft beat reporter, Eric Lai, mentioned that Microsoft had bigger plans to allow the Surface to interpret gestures, beyond directional touch.
He said that users would in the future be able to use American Sign Language as commands, and that this would lead the development of a computing gesture library.
Another patent submitted is for what Microsoft calls the ‘Magic Wand’. Again, there isn’t a lot of information on the device. However we do know that Microsoft’s chief technology officer J Allard is listed as one of the inventors, and that the device will operate somewhat like a Wii Remote but in the shape of a wand.
“Although it was only made public a few days ago, the application was originally filed in November 2007 — about a year after Nintendo launched the Wii, with its distinctive, wand-style controller. … it boils down to a wand-like device with various built-in gizmos and sensors that can manipulate and interact with its environment, including video and holographic images, while using biometrics to connect with the user.”
Two such uses, according to the patent application, include the wand recognizing the user holding it and the wand communicating with others in a walkie-talkie-like fashion.
With patents like these around the corner, it look promising that Microsoft may to breath new life into virtual meetings, holographic video and gesture commands.
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