SpaceTop is a 3D desktop computer developed by MIT grad student Jinha Lee, who recently completed an internship at Microsoft Applied Science. Unveiled at the TED conference in Long Beach, California, Lee’s system turns a computer interface into something tangible.
Behind the transparent LED screen, there is a 3D interaction space above the keyboard where users can directly manipulate floating interface elements like files and web pages. Instead of clicking on a document, they can grab it as if it were real to drag and drop it somewhere or open it for viewing.
More advanced tasks can be triggered with hand gestures. Wired reports that the system features two cameras, one that watches the user’s gestures while the other watches where their eyes are looking to adjust the projection.
SpaceTop enhances the traditional desktop interface with interaction technology and visualization techniques. These enable seamless transitions between 2D and 3D manipulations, so the user can type or draw in 2D and then switch to manipulating 3D objects, or simultaneously do both with different hands. Check out the video below to see SpaceTop in action: