Developers from Microsoft Research, the development wing of Microsoft that focuses on emerging technologies, have been experimenting with a new system they call Beamatron. The system uses the Xbox 360 Kinect motion-capture camera to help generate digital images that are projected onto a physical surface using augmented reality. In this sense, the Beamatron system lives up to its name. Developers believe that the system could have significant implications for a variety of industries, especially communications, where the system could be used to facilitate holographic communications between people.
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Currently, the Beamatron augmented reality system is only capable of producing 2D images, but can do so on any surface. Making the system capable of rendering 3D images would be considerably more taxing on the system. Researchers believe that current augmented reality technology can handle the demands of 3D holographics, but current hardware may not be able to live up to the expectation.
Microsoft developers say that the system can also be used to help keep people safe, especially in a driving environment. Using a small projector, the system could highlight potential hazards and threats in the driver’s field of view. These highlights would be rendered in real time, changing to suit the needs of the driver. Of course, the system can also be used found a new generation of gaming where gamers play a more interactive role in the experience.