It won’t be wrong to say that Microsoft is a pioneer in the domain of Mixed Reality, as the company has created a whole platform based on Windows OS to develop new use case scenarios for MR technology. OEMs like HP and Acer have already released MR headsets in multiple markets, but Microsoft’s MR project, the HoloLens, is yet to be made available commercially.
Despite limited availability, Microsoft’s research team is doing some truly remarkable work and the latest example of their progress is MR Touch, which converts any surface into a virtual touchscreen. The futuristic technology transforms any planar surface around users wearing the HoloLens headset into a touchscreen, with which they can interact in multiple ways, like surfing the web or viewing 3D objects among other tasks.
MRTouch features full multi-touch support and registers inputs by computing the depth and proximity data by continuously tracking the user’s environment and hand gestures, with a touch detection success rate of 97.5% and spatial accuracy amounting to 5.4mm of mean in-distance error. Users can launch an app simply by dragging a finger across any surface to create a virtual touchscreen, and selecting any app from an interface which looks like the default Windows 10 layout.
As for the scope of tasks one can carry out, well, it seems that users can use their HoleLens headset as a computing machine for day-to-day tasks using MRTouch, complete with support for gestures like panning and zooming. The virtual touchscreen generated by MRTouch can even create realistic 3D content and also supports in-air gestures for creating interaction in a 3D space, like creating a block arrangement in Minecraft with precise adjustment through touch inputs.
The video shows a test user just dragging his finger to create a two-dimensional block, opening his fists to convert the block into a 3-dimensional model and adjusting its height by lifting hands upwards or downward (not unlike Minority Report or Tony Stark’s Jarvis AI). Moreover, users can also move an in-air interface to a planar surface and interact with it like a normal touchscreen, however, there are no details when the MRTouch technology will see a wider release.