Skip to Content

Prototype Microsoft Displays Watch You Back

A new screen could enable more sophisticated touch computing and glasses-free 3-D.

In a keynote speech this morning at the Society for Information Display’s annual Display Week conference in Seattle, Steven Bathiche, the research director of Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group, demonstrated an immersive computing system that expand on the company’s Surface technology. Surface is a tabletop display that uses a set of four cameras to detect the location of objects placed on its surface, and special software to identify objects. Even with fantastic software, this technology can only do so much.

During his talk, Bathiche played a video that shows what’s possible when this concept is combined with better hardware–some nifty (but sketchily explained) optics and a transparent display. Transparent displays can do more than provide heads-up information while allowing you to see in front of you (for example showing traffic information on a windshield). A transparent display can look back at you. Bathiche’s group has combined a flat lens called a wedge lens with a transparent light-emitting diode display. This system can act as a touch screen; it can also detect gestures made from several feet away.

In video of a demo system where the display is mounted on top of the flat lens, a man walks up to the display and then walks back several feet, while the display shows his image. That image is captured using the lens rather than an external camera. Using this form factor, each hand can be assigned a different function–the left hand draws while the right moves the “paper” on screen. Even when the hands cross, the system keeps track of which hand is which and what it does.

Another system Bathiche showed on video uses a camera and image-processing sofrware to determine two viewers’ positions, and the positions of their eyes, and then processes that information to sequentially and directionally display different images to each viewer. Bathiche said this enables side-by-side, glasses-free 3-D viewing.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Death and Jeff Bezos
Death and Jeff Bezos

Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever

Funders of a deep-pocketed new "rejuvenation" startup are said to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.

ai learning to multitask concept
ai learning to multitask concept

Meta’s new learning algorithm can teach AI to multi-task

The single technique for teaching neural networks multiple skills is a step towards general-purpose AI.

Professor Gang Chen of MIT
Professor Gang Chen of MIT

All charges against China Initiative defendant Gang Chen have been dismissed

MIT professor Gang Chen was one of the most prominent scientists charged under the China Initiative, a Justice Department effort meant to counter economic espionage and national security threats.

conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned
conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.