Multi-touch interaction has always been a dream of the future. Movies like Ironman 2 and Minority Report, present 3D multi-touch systems as an advanced technology available only in the world of science fiction. But Microsoft Research is turning fantasy into reality. At the 2010 Computer-Human Interaction Conference MSR (Microsoft Research) revealed that it has been working on for about a year now that has been dubbed the “Pinch-the-Sky Dome”.
The Pinch-the-Sky Dome projects Omni-directional images in a dome that will enclose the user. The user can navigate through the virtual space with multi-touch gestures. This system uses an infrared camera that can see where the image is projected, that way the user does not need to wear gloves, use a tracking device, or be limited to working on a flat surface.
Technology like this has many potential uses, such as looking at astronomical images from telescopes. You could also view large panoramic photos and visualizations as though you were actually there. Video games involving first person shooters would be amazing.
The “Pinch-the-Sky Dome” is still under construction, you can see in demonstrations that the controller stays close to the projector while making gestures, MSR is looking into enabling more natural movements like simply pointing to a virtual object to navigate to it. For a better overview of this system please view the CNN video report below.