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Microsoft's glimpse of the future

In a video, Microsoft takes many of the technologies from its research labs and imagines what they might look like 10 years from now, working together.

REDMOND, Wash.--At Microsoft's TechFest, it takes a little imagination to see how the research technologies might eventually come to market.

A new video from Microsoft shows in an elegant, if utopian way, what it might look like if all of those gadgets came together several years hence. Earlier on Friday, Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop showed the video in a speech at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

As I noted in my interview with Stephen Elop, the hardest thing for me to imagine wasn't that in several years time, all our walls will be displays, but rather that Microsoft will have become so efficient in getting all of its product groups working together.

Ian Sands, who works on future-related matters for the Microsoft Business Division, showed me the video earlier this week. The work, he said, brings together about 12 different projects that his unit is working on as part of Microsoft's long-term planning, a system known as Quests. Sands said that Microsoft is looking not just at the technological challenges, but also the organizational ones.

"It's forcing us to look at those issues," Sands said.

In any case, it's a pretty cool future tech video (I've embedded a somewhat shortened version below). The full version that Elop showed at Wharton earlier today included future implementations of a number of technologies that were on display at TechFest. It was pretty cool to see that someone is already looking at how those different things might interact together.

Among the TechFest projects that are evident in the video are SecondLight, a technology that allows a surface computer to project multiple displays, NanoTouch, a means for creating touch input on the back of a small electronic device, and a computerized receptionist.

"In concert, these things could have a broad impact," Sands said.