Microsoft Opens Window to the Future of Touch and Gesture Computing
A “Minority Report”-like future (minus the holographic screens) may be right around the corner as Microsoft shows off its Envisioning Center to demonstrate the steps it's taking to get there.Windows 8 and the Kinect motion controller are just early glimpses of a touch-, voice- and gesture-based future that Microsoft believes will become commonplace over the next five to 10 years. For a clearer look at how Microsoft expects personal computing to evolve, the software giant is showing off newly rebuilt and freshly opened Envisioning Center at its Redmond campus. The facility gives visitors some hands-on time with devices and technologies under development from the Microsoft Research and Office Labs. It also doubles as a laboratory for the company's engineering teams, said Microsoft in a statement. As illustrated in a YouTube video released by the company, PCs are out—or at least artfully obscured—while tablets and video walls are in. And don't bother looking for a keyboard, cursor or command line interface. Fluid, modern and graphically rich interfaces and touch-enabled devices will be the order of the day. Soon, office workers will brainstorm on smart whiteboards that take up an entire wall, execute commands by uttering a few words and seamlessly share information across devices with a flick of a finger or by touching devices. At home, families will gather in front of super high definition, 4K screens for video calls and movie-theater like experiences.
Jonathan Cluts, director of Microsoft's Strategic Prototyping team, stresses that despite the high-tech movie set-like surroundings, the Envisioning Center is very much anchored in the real world.