What appears to be a woman cupping imaginary water from one hand to another is revealed to be something very different when you look through Microsoft’s new Holodesk.

Microsofts Holodesk Creates a Realistic Interactive Illusion

First there is nothing.

Then, look through the screen and now you can see and play with holograms.

Watch how it works here:

According to Microsoft Research, the Holodesk uses Kinect and an optical, see-through display to create the illusion the user is interacting with holograms:

A virtual image of a 3D scene is rendered through a half silvered mirror and spatially aligned with the real-world for the viewer. Users easily reach into an interaction volume displaying the virtual image. This allows the user to literally get their hands into the virtual display. A novel real-time algorithm for representing hands and other physical objects, which are sensed by the Kinect inside this volume, allows physically realistic interaction between real and virtual 3D objects.

TechNet (via Slashgear) reports that although the Holodesk is not the only interactive hologram system out there, what makes it unique is the more realistic simulation created through use of the “beam-splitters and a graphic processing algorithm.”

This week The Blaze has also reported on Microsoft Research’s OmniTouch system, which let’s users create touchscreens on virtually any surface, and PocketTouch, technology that allows smartphones to be used through fabric.

[H/T Slashgear]