An interactive 3D display sounds like something you might see in Star Trek, but thanks to zSpace, it’s reality. Oddly, this technology has been done before, and it didn’t work like it should have.
One of Nintendo’s earliest attempts at this technology was called the Uforce, and it was one of the biggest commercial failures in history. It was an electronic field of sorts made up by two panels which could be set up at various angles from each other; one on the table, and one folded upward. Sadly, the controller was so poorly designed that it is barely even remembered today.
Another one released around the same time was more commercially successful, but we could probably blame its fame on the Nintendo gaming film The Wizard. The Power Glove was hyped so much that it seriously let us down when we went to use it, and it rarely did what we wanted it to.
Both of these devices used hand gestures as a form of control, but not with an interactive 3D display. The video above shows the technology has progressed so much further than before. Microsoft’s Xbox One Kinect managed to get the hand gesture controls right, but so far, we have seen no games that actually make it worthwhile. The practicality of the technology hasn’t proven itself, though outside gaming it might be a useful form of pseudo hands-on training.
Imagine surgeons learning how to operate in a virtual environment before actually getting their hands dirty, and you can see how the medical industry alone could save millions in malpractice lawsuits alone. This is what the Ishikawa-Watanabe Laboratory is aiming for, allowing risk-free conditions to train professionals in high-risk jobs.
While the technology might not ever be commercially successful in the gaming industry, career based training could easily be improved through the use of this new interactive 3D display.