There are a lot of conspiracy theorists at Joystiq that attribute the human race's breathtakingly rapid technological advancement to ancient aliens
, claiming that world-changing inventions like polymers, optical media and the Internet have all been reverse engineered from downed extraterrestrial spacecraft.
In actuality, very few modern conveniences can trace their roots back to ancient aliens; most mind-bending breakthroughs come from abstract corporate think-tanks like Microsoft Research. The lab that previously utilized a Kinect to create real-time 3D models
has now developed an interactive, holographic 3D environment called Holodesk.
As is demonstrated in the (strangely silent) proof of concept video above, Holodesk uses a Kinect, projector and beam splitter to create interactive holograms. In a nutshell, the Kinect watches your hands and face, tracking their movements and projecting 3D shapes onto a semi-transparent surface above your hands, tricking the eye into thinking the shapes and your hand exist on the same plane. The interface is still fairly rough, graphically speaking, but the technology itself is so solid, we're hoping it'll eventually lead to a Kinect sequel to Time Traveler