Microsoft Research is working on a system that makes sounds seem to originate from specific points in space. Electronics on the top of the headphones have sensors to track the motion of the wearer’s head. Microsoft Researchers call it a 3-D Audio. Technology Review recently had a chance to experience this technology at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley lab. I put on a pair of wireless headphones that made nearby objects suddenly burst into life. A voice appeared to emanate from a cardboard model of a portable radio. Higher quality music seemed to come from a fake hi-fi speaker. And a stuffed bird high off the ground produced realistic chirps. As I walked around, the sounds changed so that the illusion never slipped as their position relative to my ears changed. That somewhat eerie experience was made possible because less than a minute earlier I had sat down in front of a ...

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According to Microsoft’s corporate vice-president for Skype Mark Gillett, Skype team is already working on making 3D video calls possible. In fact, they already have a working version in the labs, but didn’t launch to the public due to lack of 3D Eco-system which includes 3D camera, 3D displays, etc,. “We’ve seen a lot of progress in screens and a lot of people now buy TVs and computer monitors that are capable of delivering a 3D image. “But the capture devices are not yet there. As we work with that kind of technology you have to add multiple cameras to your computer, precisely calibrate them and point them at the right angle. “We have it in the lab, we know how to make it work and we’re looking at the ecosystem of devices and their capability to support it in order to make a decision when we might think about ...

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