Microsoft has seen the future and it looks like a Phillip K. Dick novel.
I’m still at the Microsoft Financial Analysts Meeting, where head of entertainment and devices Robbie Bach and Craig Mundie, head of Microsoft Research, just gave demos of Natal and other natural user interfaces.
Natal is the Xbox technology where the player becomes the controller — cameras track the player’s body movement, which controls the game. For instance, Bach played full-body handball, jumping around the stage to bounce a video ball against a backboard onscreen.
Craig Mundie then showcased an office of the future in which what goes on a computer screen now is instead projected on the wall, and the desk is an interactive touchtop like Microsoft Surface. A virtual onscreen digital assistant, who looked like a JCPenney underwear model, filed documents and placed a video conference call. During the call, the woman on the other end was able to pull up images and documents onto the wall projections. Mundie could also pull up documents with gestures picked up by a camera.
“There will be a successor to the desktop,” Mundie said. “It’s the room.”
It’s similar to a scene in “Minority Report,” the movie based on a Phillip K. Dick novel, in which Tom Cruise moves computer investigative files around a glass wall with his hands.
Coming up next: Qi Lu, president of Microsoft’s Online Services Business, is supposed to talk. He’s one of the point people on the Yahoo-Microsoft search deal.