Projected, gesture-driven interface > Augmented Reality > Semantic Web = Never-ending Wows

MIT’s Pattie Maes revealed we’re quite a bit closer to usable, wearable tech than we realized at the TED conference this past month. Currently named “Sixth Sense,” it combines a projected gesture-driven interface with image recognition and a connection to the Internet, or potentially, the semantic web to create an augmented day-to-day experience that brought TED audience members to their feet.

sixth-sense-hand1

This video provides the best examples of the eye-opening tech, as Pranav Mistry demonstrates how to auto-magically invoke a watch on to his wrist with a circular flick of his finger; get live updates on his plane’s status on the way to the airport just by looking at his ticket; take a photo just by framing a scene with his index fingers and thumbs in Spielbergian fashion; or project a web-fed tag cloud of meta data on to someone he is speaking to – directly on to their body.

Watch Video:  http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/pattie_maes_demos_the_sixth_sense.html

Currently in the prototype stage, one of the most astonishing facts is that the setup costs less than $350. The pendant projector hangs from the user’s neck, a small but significant change from common wearable tech experiments, most of which are attached to a baseball cap or helmet, the head itself or the wrist. This allows the user to use their head and eyes to be unencumbered during pauses between interface tasks. This also places the interface directly between the fingertip gesture controls for obvious benefits.

Maes claims they’re “far” from a commercial product. “Who knows,” she states, “maybe in another ten years we’ll be here with the ultimate ‘sixth sense’ brain implant.”

But game-changing tech has a way of jumping in to our lives very suddenly. Here is 3M’s mobile projector that became available a year ago at CES 2008 (with plans for cell phone integration), and Logic Wireless/T-Mobile’s launch of the Logic Bolt with of this very technology at CES 2009.

Are we a year away from having a Sixth Sense?
I see us jumping ahead, people.

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