Microsoft has released a video of an experimental project called the HoloDesk. The HoloDesk uses an optical see-through display and a Kinect camera to "create the illusion that users are directly interacting with 3D graphics."
So if I understand this correctly (and there's a large possibility that I don't), this is a small step in the direction of virtual reality - the manipulation of 3D objects in a virtual environment. Sweet.
For a more scientific explanation of the device, I'll throw it over to the Microsoft Research team -
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.
As you can see, the interface still has some glitches, and the system is far from fully realized...but holy hell this is cool:
The HoloDesk comes from the brains of the folks at the Sensors and Devices team at Microsoft Research Cambridge. Here's what sets this virtual 3D experience apart from others out there, according to the Microsoft blog -
For the record, the Holodesk isn’t the only 3-D interaction experiment out there. But what sets it apart from the rest is the use of beam-splitters and a graphic processing algorithm, which work together to provide a more life-like experience.
Man, you gotta love the future.
On a final note - all suggestive article titles aside, the two top-voted comments on this video on YouTube reference the possible applications of this technology in the wide world of porn. Just throwing that out there.