Remember the holographic chess set that Chewbacca played with in the Star Wars movies? Well, mankind might not have the technology to travel through galaxies using hyperdrive, but at least we are one step nearer to such holographic board games, thanks to the efforts of Microsoft and the MirageTable, an augmented reality device. The MirageTable enables users at different locations to work in tandem with one another on tabletop activities, allowing them to share objects that they are both able to handle. Recently demonstrated at a conference in Austin, Texas, the MirageTable basically tricks the eye (and subsequently, the brain as well) into thinking that both parties are using a “seamless 3D shared task space”.

Far more work needs to be done before the MirageTable system can be marketed though. In order to achieve the effects that you see in the upper right hand corner, a 3D video projector will be used to beam images onto a sheet of curved white plastic that is placed in front of the user. There will also be Microsoft’s Kinect depth camera sensor located at each end, where these will be used to track the direction of each person’s gaze in addition to capturing the shape and appearance of objects which are placed on the surface, with the participant sitting right behind them.

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