Microsoft IllumiShare is like Skype for your desktop.
Illumishare is currently being developed by Microsoft Research (MSR), and allows two users to remotely share any physical or digital object on any surface.
The device itself looks like a desk lamp (pictured above) and contains a camera and projector. Any changes to one surface are immediately projected onto the other. While it seems like an obvious concept that could be easily replicated with Skype, there’s more to it than that:
I remarked at how IllumiShare blew my mind because it was so “simple” yet elegant and blindingly obvious. He agreed but then went on to point out how you get to that point – by overcoming some real technical challenges - a key one being “video echo”. With a camera constantly capturing what is on your surface, and projecting, how do you ensure it doesn’t capture what you’re projecting from your surface and re-project it back. That’s where some very smart MSR thinking comes in.
In this video they show how it could be used to remotely help a student with a maths problem, for example, but I’m sure many businesses would find uses for the technology too. And if Illumishare is ever released to the public, you can be sure someone will find a way to play Angry Birds with it…