A holodeck it's not – but this cheap, depth-sensing camera has potential

Although this video mainly convinces me never, ever to try getting into Second Life again, the glimpses you get of the actual technology behind this depth-aware webcam are pretty compelling. I think the accuracy and responsiveness need some improvement before it’s ready for mass consumption, but this isn’t meant to be a finished product, simply a demonstration of basic capability.

With a little tweaking, it could perhaps track the features of your face for real-time expressions, or offer the same level of resolution as a mouse by tracking the tip of your finger. It’s all pretty much fantasy at this point, but a proof-of-concept like this is probably what gave birth to the technology behind the Wii. The mouse-and-keyboard (or gamepad) scheme is increasingly inadequate, though we make do with extra buttons and programmable functions. Who’s to say what’s next?