The world is changing, folks, and just in case you weren't aware of that fact, Microsoft Research has released the above video to show just how dramatic those changes will be. Though they aren't quite usable as anything more than the most simple activities (like bouncing a ball or picking up a 3D holographic object), the HoloDesk by the research team at Microsoft shows some really cool possibilities for the technology, especially by showing a holographic Windows phone. As you can see from the video, interaction with a 3D hologram is not just something the characters in Star Trek can do anymore - Microsoft has taken their Kinect to a whole new level and brought holograms in direct contact with our fingertips.
While we probably won't be using any holographic smartphones any time soon, that didn't stop the development team from creating their own version of a WP7 device to play with in their HoloDesk. At 2:40 in the video, you can see the user picking up a translucent holographic Windows phone, browsing through the available applications and even launching one of them. Not bad for a phone that doesn't actually exist.
The HoloDesk uses a number of sensors to watch exactly how the user is interacting with what they see. It watches their hands for motion and direct interaction with the displayed objects, and their eyes to know what they are looking at (and change the perspective of the illusion as they do so). This technology could eventually be used for prototyping new devices, manipulating x-rays or displaying an array of data and charts, if not eventually be used in gaming or other forms of entertainment.
We're still a far way out from seeing anything like this end up on consumer shelves, or even outside of Microsoft's research facilities. The possibilities are still extremely cool to think about, and leave us wondering what other dreams might eventually become a reality.