Microsoft Gesture and Display Research

Here are a couple demos from Microsoft Research that I’ve recently discovered that are full of interesting future interaction ideas.

The first video asks what we could do with touch-interfaces if we weren’t limited to finger (and multi-finger) input. What if we could use our whole hand? Called Rock & Rails, the technology demo proposes three new gestures types: a fist, the side of your hand extended straight, and the side of your hand curved. The specific application they show (it looks like a sort of page-layout scenario) may not be that exciting, but suggests that future uses could be quite natural and intuitive.

The second video, from Microsoft Applied Sciences, is a bit broader and hardware oriented — showing several interesting display technologies and ways of interacting with them. Steven Bathiche’s demos range from 3D drawing to holographic-like one and two person displays. Johnny Chung Lee points out that these may never become fully mainstream, but it’s the potential for increased diversity in future displays that’s interesting. It’s a great point — and allows us to imagine all sorts of super-specific environments where some of these technologies might be applied.

Together the demos are good reminders that despite how cool current multi-touch interaction is, the future is probably going to be much richer.

(Link via @emotely.)