Microsoft Research demos Surface Sphere

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This week’s useless innovations in computing award goes to the Microsoft Research team, who sellotaped a projector, an exercise ball and a customised version of Microsoft Surface (the touchscreen computing system that will look great in tech demos right up until it is abandoned as impractical) together. With these three unlikely ingredients, they have created the Microsoft Sphere.

Marvel at the prototype’s incredible ability to display images on a 3D surface. Images that you can move and drag and stretch and beam to the other side of the sphere! With your hands! You marvelled! We definitely saw you marvel.

The globular computer can respond to your touch wherever you are standing, so in theory lots of people could all look at, move, drag, stretch and beam their photos AT THE SAME TIME. But what if you didn’t want other people using the Incredi-Sphere to look at your pictures? Simple; move around the sphere so they can’t see. It’s like “privacy in a social sense”. Yeah.

Right, I’m done taking the piss now. The Sphere is actually quite clever for a few reasons. 1) You can look at it from any angle – unlike big old LCD screens. 2) It has an internal projection system that’s pioneered Global Imagination. With or without Microsoft Surface in the equation, that could be quite nifty for other purposes. 3) It plays a sort of 3D version of pong (although it looks rubbish). 4) It’ll could make for an incredible Google Earth Virtual Earth experience.

Nonetheless, “It’s really an exploration of ideas,” Hrvoje Benko, the Microsoft researcher heading up the Sphere project, notes. Don’t expect spherical computing to take over from traditional 2D roots just yet, but with technology behind it, Microsoft’s Surface concept could be jammed into just any surface no matter which angle it is pointing or what shape it is.

(via Tech Radar)

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One thought on “Microsoft Research demos Surface Sphere

  • I marvelled. That’s amazing.

    Reminds me of the Wicked Witch of the West’s ‘viewing-globe’ from the Wizard of Oz.

    In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s what they were going for.

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