I’ve often wondered what kind of technology my 5-year-old daughter will be using when she grows up. The following is proof that I have a feeble imagination. But the folks at MIT Media Lab make up for what I lack.
What if you no longer needed a cellphone, computer, computer mouse, iPad, digital camera or any number of other devices. What if you replaced a whole stable of hardware with a small wearable gizmo around your neck that interacted with your hand gestures.
A lot of us recall those scenes of Tom Cruise waving his hands to operate a computer in the 2002 film “Minority Report.” But MIT’s device, even as a prototype, does things even Steven Spielberg couldn’t have imagined. It allows you to:
- Use a blank sheet of paper, wall or any blank surface as a computer screen.
- Lift words and pictures from a printed page onto a blank sheet with a mere “pinch” of your fingers.
- Transfer information from that blank paper to a real computer screen, also with a “pinch.”
- Watch movies on a blank sheet of paper. Watch news videos on a printed newspaper.
- Play video games on – yes, also on a blank sheet of paper.
- Take a digital photo – merely by framing your hands like a movie director.
- See your flight status projected onto your airline boarding pass, or the price of a good, or see the latest temperatures dancing on a newspaper weather page.
- See a person’s name and biographical information displayed on his shirt the instant you encounter him. No more forgetting people’s names!
- Dial a phone number – on the bare palm of your hand.
- Check your wristwatch – while not even wearing one.
The technology is called SixthSense, and it’s billed as bringing “intangible, digital information into the tangible world.” And it’s built from what basically are bits of junk from Radio Shack.
Says MIT Ph.D candidate Pranav Mistry, “I think that integrating information onto everyday objects will not only help us to get rid of the digital divide between these two worlds, but will also help us, in some way, to stay human.”
Remembering this is a prototype, you have to ask: How real is all this, or rather, will it ever be? It seems like magic. But then, an iPhone would have seemed like magic 15 years ago.
Check it out here.
And if you want to be really amazed, be sure to see SixthSense in action in this video.
My daughter’s gonna have to get one of these.