Microsoft SecondLight Makes 'Surface' Magic

Posted by sumeethevans on October 22 2008, 6:44 PM. Posted in Surface.

Take <!-- start ziffarticle //-->Microsoft Surface<!-- end ziffarticle //-->, sprinkle it with fairy dust, and you might have something close to Microsoft's SecondLight, a new technology in the works from Microsoft Research.

The experimental SecondLight technology adds a second dimension to Surface, allowing users to slide "magic lenses" over the display to provide a second surface that can be linked to the first. In one example, Microsoft researchers projected a picture of a car on the Surface display. But add separate, portable pieces of glass that can be moved across the display, and presto! the glasses are transformed into "X-ray specs" allowing a wireframe model to be viewed.

It's all sleight of hand, of course. But if history is any guide, SecondLight will eventually be part of future Surface displays.

The research is being presented as part of the User Interface Software and Technology conference this week. In addition to SecondLight, Microsoft's <!-- start ziffarticle //-->touchless SideSight "touchscreen" for PDAs<!-- end ziffarticle //--> was presented, as well as "tap" and "caress" movements for cell phones<!-- end ziffarticle //-->, plus a a new way to interact with images.

How does SecondLight work? As a trick of the light.

Surface projects images onto a display, and Microsoft hasn't abandoned that with SecondLight; the display still detects and interacts with objects or fingers that touch it.

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