Microsoft opens retooled Envisioning Center

Microsoft Surface
The Surface tablet plays a key role in Microsoft's vision

On Friday, Microsoft revealed its latest vision of the future, the Envisioning Center.

You may recall Microsoft's previous version of the future as described in its 2009 video forecasting 2019.

The "reimagined Envisioning Center," a complex filled with Microsoft prototypes for in-development work, home, and commercial technology, shows off a more conservative, albeit ambitious, approach.

The announcement of the center's opening on Microsoft's Redmond Campus was also accompanied by a video tour showcasing the new tech.

Windows into the future

Microsoft's current mantra, "Live, Work, Play," feeds directly into the displays at the Envisioning Center, with different sections allowing a glimpse into a model home and a model office.

In the home, a large, long 4k screen with a camera dominates the living room space, elaborating on Microsoft's vision for entertainment, video telecom, and gaming.

The kitchen of the house boasts a Kinect-enabled, wall-mounted display that integrates with the smart stove-top to offer cooking advice.

The office spaces bring back Microsoft's original vision for Surface, i.e. gigantic touch screens.

One room sports an interactive screen the size of an entire wall, similar to the "smart chalkboard" from its previous future insight.

Another office features some man-sized pad, as well as a sleeker-looking desk-sized Surface (like the old one) that integrates with a Surface tablet (the new one) and Windows Phone via touch-and-slide mechanics.

Jonathan Cluts, director of Microsoft's Strategic Prototyping team, reminds us that "these scenarios are based on reality, not science fiction."