'SpaceTop 3D' Transparent Desktop Computer Unveiled At TED Conference

A 3D see-through computer which lets you reach through your screen has been unveiled.

Jinha Lee, a student at MIT, worked with Microsoft on the new concept machine.

The SpaceTop 3D desktop allows users to literally reach "into" their computer, and move files and data with their hands.

It uses a transparent LED screen, 3D graphics and camera-monitored gesture controls to create the illusion of a box behind the monitor.

Users place their hands behind the screen to manipulate the icons and apps, while a camera tracks their eye position and adjusts the angle, making it appear as though the box is really 3D.

The idea was presented this week at the TED conference in California.

"Programming the world will alter even our daily physical activities," Lee said, according to The Verge.

"With our two hands we're reaching into the digital world."

Lee told the BBC it would let users pick up files and "flick them like a book".

He said on his website:

It extends the traditional desktop interface with interaction technology and visualization techniques that enable seamless transitions between 2D and 3D manipulations. SpaceTop allows users to type, click, draw in 2D, and directly manipulate interface elements that float in the 3D space above the keyboard.

The SpaceTop 3D computer is still in the early stages, and no consumer devices are currently planned. But like early concepts of iPhone-like touchscreens, which took the web by storm before their rapid commercial introduction, it might not be as long as you think.