Microsoft Envisioning Center
The Envisioning Center is a facility that Microsoft uses to explore how technology will transform the way we live, work and play in the future. The center opened in 2013 with nine prototypes focused on exploring new ways of enhancing collaboration and productivity 10 years in the future. Daily tours are given through the Envisioning Center to internal teams as well as business partners and even celebs and politicians from time to time. This space acts as a living prototype for Microsoft and we were given the freedom to explore a wide variety of concepts which led to some really interesting work.
01. Team Action Space
We were constantly experimenting with new form factors on the Envisioning Team. In this case we custom built a large scale touch wall to explore what new scenarios a screen like this would unlock. Designing at this scale was a serious challenge and we were forced to completely re-think many traditional approaches to interaction and visual design. We developed a Kinect sensor array that was mounted in the ceiling which gave us the ability to use proximity as a way to smartly scale information. This technique worked extremely well allowing the users distance to direct the amount and type of information that was displayed.
02. Personal Workspace
This prototype was created to explore opportunities for improving the experience a person has while engaged in heads down focused work. The workspace we created was a hyper-contextual, free thinkspace. This meant the workspace allowed a truly organic and natural way of work to unfold by ensuring the system never got in the way of the users flow. The system was always aware of the users context and ensured the right information surfaced at the right time. Part of this work was also focused on experimenting with a new visual design language meant to project what the future of the Microsoft design language might be in 10 years. This language was void of any of the traditional chrome you might see in current interfaces, and instead relied on contextual based UI.
03. Home Life
In the modern world the desire to be productive and creative does not end once you leave work. We wanted to explore how technology could transform your personal life as well as your professional. We spent a lot of time exploring the kitchen as a space ripe for innovation. We developed a family wall that enabled the family to stay up to speed on each other as well as help to ease the burden of running a busy household. We looked at everything from scheduling family time to the age old question of what's for dinner.