In a striking coincidence last Friday brought two little tidbits showing Microsoft’s interest with augmented reality. First, TechFlash had a Q&A session with Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer. Here’s Mundie on AR:
Q: Another technology that you’ve talked about in the past, and shown, is the idea of augmented reality — overlaying data on top of the real world, as people experience it. Are you expecting that to come more into the marketplace now, and do you expect Microsoft to offer products along those lines?
Mundie: I do believe that will continue to be important. Some of the things we continue to do with Photosynth (a Microsoft 3D photo browsing program) and work related to Bing Maps are trending in that direction, so I think they’ll be a steady progression there. I demonstrated an ultramobile PC where you could use the video camera to look at a scene and then we would do image-matching on the scene to identify well-known items, and then we would bring data forward and annotate the scene dynamically on that. I think that’s certainly in the cards, and you’ll do that on your cell phone.
Then, just to prove the point the Microsoft Research has its sights set on AR, Simon Winder of the Interactive Visual Media group at Microsoft Research (who we mentioned previously here) has uploaded two videos to his Youtube account. The first is another iteration of a treasure hunt powered up by Photosynth to match the camera view to previously recorded scenes:
That’s nothing we haven’t seen before. However, the second video is more conceptual, showing an “augmented cubicle”. I fancy the calendar –