3D Windowing is Here! (Or at Least Near)
A new hardware/software platform that can allow users to "lift" browser windows in 3-D and allow humans to manipulate them like real-world objects.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Some folks like to work with lots of windows open. Portals into a myriad of aspects of the project at hand. I am definitely one of those folks. I work with several computers at once and each of them has dual HD monitors. And looking around right now I'm sure I have at least 40 windows open. And that doesn't include the tabs on browsers! Now maybe I'm crazy (friends and associates have suggested this) but I have always wanted more. Sure I can create lots of windows on the XY plane, and they do overlap as though they might be stacked one upon the other. But, why can't they actually float in the third dimension? Why can't we have a more literal sense of "in front of" or "just behind and to the left"? As humans we are very good of thinking in "spatial" terms. Newton famously remembered things by putting them in "rooms" in his "memory palace".
Well, zSpace and Google's Chrome webGL team have come up with a PC browser that takes a step in that direction. The new zBrowser provides a hardware/software platform that is currently targeted to the educational sector. And currently it is focusing on features such as selecting flat images while browsing and "lifting" them off the page into 3-D and allowing the human to rotate and examine them as though they were objects in the real world. As you might suspect the device as well as the webpages being viewed have a little bit of extra technology as well as page content. But it is only an incremental extra bit. Think: 3-D TV, head tracking, 3-D stylus tracking. It is easy to imagine that this kind of technology will become regular features of laptops in the near future (remember when WebCams, built-in microphones, mouse pads, wireless networking, etc. were not?)
So, while educators are excited about showing 3-D examples of skeletons or online stores will see value in showing you an actual 3-D version of that table or pair of shoes that they hope you'll buy, I'm hoping that in the very near term it will lead to full 3-D windowing systems built into the operating system. Imagine what Windows Aero display paradigm would be if it were actually 3-D. That's what I'm talking about. That's what I want. More windows floating in space that I can move and work with. I am ready to use more of my spatial sense.
Today zSpace has released an all-in-one computer that brings a 3-D browser screen to life. It requires special glasses (or some lightweight clip-ons if you already wear glasses). Face tracking sensors, as well as the stylus, transmit signals to the computer monitor and manage your interaction with the 3-D space.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.