In a world that’s changing rapidly, there may soon come a day when two friends – physically miles apart – will be enjoying their drinks together at the same table or company board of directors will be teleconferencing in a 3D environment, believes Microsoft.
And to turn such an audacious belief into reality, the American multinational giant has developed MirageTable – an augmented reality system that lets users at different locations share objects palpably at the same time.
Admitting that more work is required before MirageTable could be made available on the market, researchers at Microsoft said spatial augmented reality can trick the eye into believing that both parties are sharing the same 3D space despite physical separation.
Announced at a conference in Texas, MirageTable combines a host of existing technologies to create a virtual environment that two or more people can share seamlessly without feeling out of place. It was the possibility of placing 3D objects beside real ones that first aroused their interest in the project, disclosed the team of researchers.
“In our system, the user can hold a virtual object, move it, or knock it down, since all virtual and real objects participate in a real-world physics simulation… The unique benefit of this setup is that two users share not only the 3D image of each other, but also the tabletop task space in front of them” explained the study authors.
Other than bringing two people closer to each other to let them handle common objects, the technology could also be used to develop a single-player gaming environment, noted the researchers.