In Brief

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:

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