This hologram system stacks computer files and folders more intuitively than a 2D screen can represent.
Computers and water usually don’t mix, but when the water is making fog instead of a menace for your keyboard, two scientists at the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science have discovered, objects can be made to appear three-dimensional in a way that enhances traditionally two-dimensional interaction systems. Professor Sriram Subramanian and Dr. Diego Martinez Plasencia have designed the system to exist on a tabletop, hence the catchy pun of its name, MisTable.
MisTable’s contributions are unique in that it not only creates augmented-reality ‘holograms’ of the sort seen in movies but also uses these stunning illusions as a way of revolutionizing the ‘desktop’ metaphor that has recently fallen out of style in describing computer-based workspaces. Instead of having multiple ‘windows’ stacked on top of an obscuring each other, MisTable users can see their options arrayed in front of them in a much more intuitive way. “The personal screen provides direct line of sight and access to the different interaction spaces,” Subramanian told University of Bristol’s news site. He also added that the system has huge possibilities for collaborative work:
“Users can be aware of each other’s actions and can easily switch between interacting with the personal screen to the tabletop surface or the interaction section. This allows users to break in or out of shared tasks and switch between “individual” and “group” work.
“Users can also move content freely between these interaction spaces. Moving content between the tabletop and the personal screen allow users to share it with others or to get exclusive ownership over it. The research team believe MisTable could support new forms of interaction and collaboration in the future.”
MisTable’s depth perception features and ‘augmenting’ of real-world objects also means that it can interface with the actual world in more sophisticated ways than many other systems of its kind. The tabletop screens, which are meant to be personally dedicated to individual users, are said to “preserve” these features.
The MisTable will be presented at Toronto’s ACM CHI Conference for interaction design, which will be from April 26th – May 1st, but until then, you can see the system demonstrated on YouTube below: