PatentlyMobile reports that Microsoft has applied for a patent which would allow them to generate large, touchable and interactive 3D displays that had depth, such that users would be able to “dive in” to deeper layers.
The depth could be achieved by various lengths of fibre-optic wires on top of a display, with user interaction being monitored by an array of depth sensors and cameras like Kinect.
Microsoft also imagines that the fire-optics could be moved up and down, to create 3 dimensional interactive and touchable surfaces similar to this other invention, the inform by MIT, which is a surface that three-dimensionally changes shape, allowing users to interact with digital content in the real world. By using fibre-optic cables Microsoft’s solution is presumable more precise and probably cheaper and more flexible.
The technology also has similarities to Ficons, which are transparent physical objects which could be imbued with functions by transmitting an interactive display onto them, in short making computer icons physical.
The technology is all part of Microsoft’s Natural User Interface research, which aims to bring typical real world user interface paradigms to the digital world.
Microsoft does not say what exactly such an intention would be useful for, but we can imagine a mean game of Minecraft could be played.
Read more about the proposed technology at PatentlyMobile here.