I've just finished reading a great article on PCWorld, titled "Meet Microsoft, the world's best kept R&D secret", about the hidden work going on in the Microsoft research and development labs – and some of the projects that are being delivered in return for the $9.6 billion being invested every year:
- Blending touch and touchscreens
Using cameras and personal projectors to transform normal objects into touchscreen computer surfaces – from cereal boxes, to room walls, to body parts becoming touchscreens.
Kinect, originally for the Xbox, is all about movement, rather than touch, and there's a bunch of projects that are using it in interfaces, games, new interfaces, and even robotics – like this project from Disney
The added bonus with Kinect is that there's a publicly available Software Development Kit (SDK) that you can use to build your own projects.
Taking the idea of home entertainment to a completely different level by turning a whole room into an interactive experience – creating a 360-degree screen and interactivity.
- Foveated Rendering
As displays get bigger, the computing power needed to display them gets massive – and if you want to draw a life-size rendering of a scene on a room-size display, you'll need more computing power than you can currently get from a home computer. Unless… you use foveated rendering…
It all points to scenarios, like the ones from our Productivity Future Vision created last year, being with us sooner than we might imagine.
It will be fascinating to see how some of these innovations are applied in education - either in real or virtual classrooms