Microsoft Research showed off some fascinating new technology concepts with three demo videos, two of which heavily integrate Kinect sensors. The projects include a 3D desktop concept, the IllumiShare remote sharing system, and the Holoflector augmented reality mirror, all of which can find diverse applications in gaming, education, and business.
The Kinect-integated 3D desktop involves a transparent display that folds up so that your hands lie on a keyboard behind the screen. Objects and graphics on the screen appear in a virtual 3-dimensional space in which your hands can virtually manipulate them from behind the screen. The system also tracks eye movement so that 3D objects appear correctly on the screen.
The IllumiShare is a virtual workspace system that looks like a simple desk lamp. It actually consists of both a camera and projector to simultaneously capture and project video. The challenge is for it to be able to differentiate between that which it has projected versus that which is physically present so that it does not re-project visuals in an infinite loop. The IllumiShare has many educational applications and it's best to see it in action for yourself in the video below.
The Holoflector features a transparent mirror that sits in front of an LCD screen so that users can see both their reflections as well as any virtual elements displayed on the screen behind the mirror. Using Kinect's sensors and motion capture capabilities, virtual reality elements can be combined with physical reality for a blended visual on the mirror.