You have to hand it to the tireless folks toiling away within Microsoft's Research department. They're hard at the task of making tomorrowland today's province. Perhaps spurred on by the rapturous response to their HoloDesk, the Cambridge gang's previewing yet another virtual reality, and this time it's a handheld trio. The palm-friendly devices, split up into camera, room and SLAM models, incorporate pico projectors, coaxial IR cameras, inertial measurement units (IMUs) and the company's Kinect (for the latter two only) to project augmented visions onto surrounding surfaces. If you've been honing your shadow puppetry game over the years, that oft-used skill's about to get very useful. The environmentally aware (no, not the Go Green! kind) systems allow for shadow- and touch-based interaction with the CG overlays, offering pinch functionality, icon selection and even painting -- don't worry, it's definitely removable. This neat tech hat trick could one day soon spare you a trip to IKEA, letting you test out potential decorative pieces from the comfort of your home. Unfortunately, we can't get handsy with the futuristic projectors just yet, so the video after the break will have to suffice.
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