November 17 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets Year: 2011 Rating: 2
This video by Oblong Industries, Inc will amaze you.
g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo.
What you are seeing is a literal replication of movie magic come to life. Dubbed “g-speak’ by its developers, it uses a “combination of gestural i/o, recombinant networking, and real-world pixels brings the first major step in computer interface since 1984.” They believe this method of computer interaction will be far better suited to the “data-intensive” work people are increasingly doing with their computers (the fact that more than one user can operate a single machine speaks volumes towards this belief).
The tie-in with Minority Report is no coincidence. One of the founders of Oblong worked as a science advisor on the set of that movie and incorporated many of his earlier work at MIT into the set. You can see similarities in the design like having a dedicated room, wearing special gloves, even specialized hand gestures that give it an almost Tai Chi-like feel to it. You could Zen out while doubling your productivity.
How close are we to this kind of design?
Even in this incredible demo there are a lot of things that need to be ironed out before your rich neighbors can afford one (but luckily not too many).
The use of projectors to put images on the screen is impractical as evidenced by the shadows on the center console. No one wants to worry about standing in front of the display, changing burned-out bulbs, arranging the projectors correctly, and especially the heat generated by the machines themselves. If Oblong were able to incorporate the latest OLED technology into their design, it could put this concept into the fast-track (as well as adding sharper definition and better colors).
The lag-time, which already is minimal, will need to be improved. Luckily all that’s needed to accomplish this is time. Processors are accelerating at such an astounding pace that in two years time we could see a processor fast and cheap enough for the mass-market.
Software will need to fill in for the lack of accuracy in the display as well. It’s already hard enough using GIMP with a mouse for detailed image edits, I can’t imagine how difficult it would be with just fingers. Either software will have to get good enough to edit images itself by simple commands, or some sort of pen will have to be included in the center console for accomplishing edits (maybe a plastic scalpel).
The Oblong believes g-speak will “change the way people use machines at work, in the living room, in conference rooms, in vehicles.” I tend to agree. And with Minority Report audiences thirsting for this technology now, we could be seeing it sooner than you think.