We’ve all enjoyed our computers, but, for everyone, computers, while being able to accomplish so many things, has always been a “2D” experience. Well, apparently, Microsoft is looking to change all that, by changing desktop computers for the better, and for always. Their plan, (which apparently they already have working models of), is to implement a type of computer, where users can basically stick their hand in, and interact with it in a 3D environment. This information was released recently at a TED Talk in Los Angeles, CA.
As of right now, it’s called the “SpaceTop 3D Desktop” and it’s being worked on by TED Talker Jinha Lee as well as Microsoft. What’s really cool about it, is that users put their hands “behind” the monitor, and can interact with the machine very much in the same way they would interact with a modern-day 2D computer. As well, users can lift their hands ABOVE the flat touchpad area in the back, and then interact with objects in a 3D space, as if they were sticking their hands inside an actual box with 3D holographic images inside of it.
Not only does the machine allow users this freedom, but ALSO, tracks their facial movements, as well as eye movements, so it can see exactly what the user is looking, and create a smooth, intuitive interaction for the user, which is accomplished with built-in cameras on the machine.
Why a 3D machine? Well, it takes advantage of an in-born human skill known as “spacial memory”. Spacial memory allows humans to remember, with relative ease, where a given object is, within a certain space. So for example, if you have a can of soda next to your laptop, and it’s dark in your room, you can usually just reach over, and immediately grab at it, without having to think too hard about where it’s actually located. That is spacial memory.
Sick of clicking page by page to get through an eBook you’re reading? Well, no problem, because with this 3D technology, you’ll literally be able to pick it up, as you would a normal book, and flip through the pages just like you would with any other book, further merging the digital world, with our physical reality.
What’s another good reason? In the words of Jinh Lee:
“The gap between what the designer thinks and what the computer can do is huge. If you can put your hands inside the computer and handle digital content you can express ideas more completely”.
I agree completely, it makes things a heck of a lot easier, when you can interact with more than just a flat surface, and also, this is the type of thing that could get people to move back to desktops, because let’s face it, there’s very little reason for someone to use a desktop computer these days, when they can accomplish 90% of their tasks on a portable little tablet.
It’s possible that these new computers will become the norm in about 10 years, so it is still a little far off, but who knows, a day might come where regular 2D screens become a thing are of the past.