Microsoft Brings Us Truly Interactive Computing

Reposted with permission from the Global Knowledge UK blog.

Tablets are apparently the future of computing – versatile, lightweight, truly portable, and crucially, cool. It seems though that Microsoft is not falling for the marketing hype.

They have instead allowed one of their Applied Science teams to invest some serious time and effort into developing an entirely new way of interacting with computers. If you are reading this on a desktop or laptop computer, you will have your keyboard at the front, mouse to the side and 2D screen at the back. Not for much longer though.

If Jinha Lee, an MIT Media Lab Ph.D. student and a research intern at Microsoft and Cati Boulanger, a researcher at the company, get their way, your computer will be changing forever. You will have a 3D screen at the front mounted at roughly 45 degrees, to allow you to look down “through” the screen.

The keyboard sits behind the screen and the mouse is gone forever! But, simply having a 3D screen is no longer particularly newsworthy. What makes Jinha and Cati’s development so impressive is the way you interact with the system.

Using your hands as the controls, you reach under the screen – effectively into the display – and begin manipulating images, using tools, dragging and dropping content, with your hands. Imagine the way you interact with your tablet/smartphone, and then you start getting a vague idea of the interaction.

But rather than making do with me explaining this great development, you can watch this video and let Jinha Lee demonstrate it.

So how does this impact the training world? Well, network installation courses for example, can become genuine practical exercises, completed virtually. Imagine the benefit to both trainer and pupil alike to be able to actually get their hands dirty whilst on a course like Advanced Routing & Switching for Field Engineers.

We all know that individuals learn best by “doing”, so to be able to actually learn hardware characteristics from the safety of a screen would surely be of great benefit. After all, should you make a mistake, you can simply turn your hand into a fist and bang the table (as this will surely replace CTRL-Z as the most important shortcut in our lives!)

This can allow people to experiment confidently with networking structures, knowing that the worst that can happen is that they have to re-start. I certainly learn better when I can interact with something and get involved, I’m sure many of you do too. So, well done Microsoft, we look forward to Interactive 3D software being made available on Windows 7 later this year!

Duncan Howe is a contributor for the Global Knowledge UK blog. For more courses and information, visit Global Knowledge UK.

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