The Ultimate Display

February 27, 2011, 1 min read

When technologies converge, interesting things can happen. A few days ago Stevie Bathiche, director of the Applied Sciences Group within Microsoft, presented a new type of display that has some very interesting properties. The Ultimate Display, as they call it, can identify objects and people in front of it moving in 3D space. Think of how it could be used as an alternative to a computer mouse and the additional layer of interactions this technology can enable.

When coupled with a Microsoft Kinect camera it can actually track the eye position of multiple persons and display different content to each one by projecting separate focused beams of light on each person. On top of that, it can project a slightly different video stream on your left and right eye, thus creating a 3D illusion without the need for specialized glasses.

Now imagine this technology in a class room environment, where each student can look at the same board but watch unique, adaptive content created just for his or her needs. For example, in a language learning class all students can watch the same video, but each one will see subtitles in his or her own language. In a science class, students might be able to explore the same 3D environment on a board or screen, while maintaining the uniqueness of the experience by watching it through their own eyes (all of them!).

At home, a couple can watch different channels through the same TV (is that useful?). The implications of this technology are immense, especially when combined with other similar ones. It can provide new and exciting opportunities, but it can also be intrusive. Imagine walking in a mall and as you enter a shop you see a video directed to you, along with its sound stream, trying to inform you about their latest products that are just right for you.

Microsoft hasn’t announced any new products yet that will use this technology, but Stevie says that we can expect more in six months. Enjoy the following video, where he explains in more detail how the Ultimate Display works.