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This Amazing 3-D Desktop Was Born at Microsoft

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Article from wired.com

LONG BEACH, California – The history of computer revolutions will show a logical progression from the Mac to the iPad to something like this SpaceTop 3-D desktop, if computer genius Jinha Lee has anything to say about it.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad student earned some notice last year for the ZeroN, a levitating 3-D ball that can record and replay how it is moved around by a user. Now, following an internship at Microsoft Applied Science and some time off from MIT, Lee is unveiling his latest digital 3-D environment, a three-dimensional computer interface that allows a user to “reach inside” a computer screen and grab web pages, documents, and videos like real-world objects. More advanced tasks can be triggered with hand gestures. The system is powered by a transparent LED display and a system of two cameras, one tracking the users’ gestures and the other watching her eyes to assess gaze and adjust the perspective on the projection.

Lee’s new 3-D desktop, which he just showed off at the annual TED conference in Long Beach, California, is still in the early stages. But it lights the way toward the sort of quantum leap that’s all too rare in computer interfaces. It took decades to get from the command-line interface to the graphical user interface and Apple’s Macintosh. It took decades more to get from the Mac to the touch interface of iPhones and iPads. Lee and people like him might just get us to the next revolution sooner.

Others are working along similar lines. Gesture-based control has been incorporated into Microsoft’s Kinect, Samsung’s Smart TV platform, and products from startups like Leap Motion and SoftKinect (not to mention in cinema fantasyland ). Three dimensional display interfaces, meanwhile, have been brewing at the University of Iowa (home to “Leonar3Do” ), in the Kickstarter gaming

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