Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has made lively suggestions that future PCs will incorporate user interface technology not dissimilar to the firm’s own Natal device for the Xbox 360.
News site Kotaku has posted a transcript of Gates’s NBC interview in which the Microsoft co-founder said future PCs will be able to “see what we're doing”. He also suggested users will be able to interact with Windows OSes verbally.
The upcoming 360 Natal peripheral, which is expected to launch in November next year, already features the technology that could perform such feats.
Israeli developer 3DV Systems sold its motion-control camera systems to Microsoft back in March 2009, and Gates’s company has so far only used that tech for the 360 motion controller. But in owning the technology, Microsoft’s options are open for future PC development.
“Whether it's making a gesture in a business meeting to zoom in on a chart, or try and look at what a house would be like before it's built, this idea of the computer seeing 3D displays and voice interaction [shows that] the keyboard and the mouse – which is how we think of the computer today – is not the only way we interact.”
The possibilities for PC gaming could mushroom overnight if Microsoft were to ever make such camera technology a standard for Windows platforms, though of course Gates was only hypothesising his firm’s future.
However, Gates is in a position where his visions of future technology have Nostradamus-like qualities.
In June 2007 – some two years before Natal was officially unveiled – he openly told an audience of computer enthusiasts to “imagine a game machine where you’re just going to pick up the bat and swing it or the tennis racket and swing it”, before explaining that this could, perhaps, be achieved with camera recognition technology.