During the past year, Microsoft Kinect has seen the technology go from gamers to uses in science and education. Now Microsoft has revealed a new use for Kinect. Its latest version of Kinect technology is the Beamatron.
Beamatron is an example of the technology vision that not too long ago would fall under the rubric of science fiction. Here the trend they are pursing blends the physical world with the virtual world. It’s augmented reality concept that combines a projector and Kinect sensor on a pan tilt moving head, perhaps the kind you may find in a nightclub.
The setup utilizes KinectFusion to build a 3D model of a space and enables projected graphics to react in physically appropriate ways. Here is the science fiction part. Several years ago Tom Cruise made a movie, “Minority Report” where he would pull up a screen to get information about an event. The screen was in the middle of the room, it was not connected to a wall, or had a physical presence. It was a virtual screen. Now, Microsoft explores that vision.
In one actual example, a virtual car was driven around the floor of the room bumping into actual obstacles and running over real ramps. But nothing was hit. The moving head of the projector means the image can be displayed almost anywhere in a room while the depth camera enables the correct projection relative to physical surfaces.
This new display technologies show that the future of movies, TV, and other image producing devices will change. How business units or artwork users work with them will depend on what the devices are able to do. But in the end it could foster a new era of display innovation that we haven’t seen if over 70 years when the TV became a home device.