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Microsoft’s Sphere – cool touch controlled interface looks to the future


Microsoft Sphere. I’m a little behind the curve on this one, but my dear daughter pointed out how cool this was and I’ve got to agree. The dudes at Microsoft have taken a very cool product called the Magic Planet digital video globe (below) and added touch navigation to it using an infrared camera and some software smarts. They’re figuring it could be useful for things like omni-directional video conferencing or multimedia browsing, and the videos certainly make it look a lot nicer to use than a boring mouse and keyboard. It’s strictly concept only at the mo though, so don’t hold your breath for a commercial version to hit the shelves anytime soon.


 We have added touch-sensing capabilities with an infrared camera that shares the optical path with the projector. This novel configuration permits us to enclose both the projection and the sensing mechanism in the base of the device and allows for easy 360 degrees access to the device and high degree of interactivity without shadowing or occlusion problems. We have also developed a custom graphics projection pipeline that solves the distortion problems and enables projected data to be correctly visualized on the curved surface.


  • Merlin, “I’ll take two.”

  • Merlin, "I'll take two."

  • Saw a woman use one of those in a 1939 movie…. but she had a house dropped on her sister by a girl named Dorothy
    (Does Microsoft copy EVERYTHING???)


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