One of the first Ted Talks I remember watching was “Meet the SixthSense interaction” around February, 2009. In this talk Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demonstrated a prototype of a project they were working on at the MIT Media Lab. This device would allow you to interact with information that was right in front of you and integrate it to your reality, "making the world your computer". They called it SixthSense. Whoa! I thought it was far beyond amazing!
Back in 2009, I was the Tech teacher for grade 5 students. We used to spend part of the class discussing new inventions, the history of computer technology, what’s next, etc. I got so excited by this invention, that the following day I showed the video to my students. Smartphones were already around and many kids had personal devices of all sorts, nonetheless, I could not have anticipated their reaction. They absolutely loved the concept and wanted to have it - NOW! A boy even told me if only I had told him about this a few days ago, he wouldn't have bought his new cellphone!
Inspired perhaps by the 2002 futuristic movie “Minority Report”, the concept still amazes me to this day. I occasionally go back and check in on the progress made thus far, hoping it has turned into a commercial product and hopefully is available on Amazon. Surprisingly to me, this has not occurred yet.
However, the future has caught up with us. Who would have thought we’d be using many of these new technologies today? With just a camera, colored caps, a phone, a projector, and a mirror, Pranav and Pattie invented a 350 USD portable device that incorporated technologies and concepts that are all familiar to us today: Wearable technology, Virtual reality, Augmented reality, Hand gestures, AirDrop, Virtual keyboards, Google Glasses, Apps, etc.
What other technologies can you identify?
Visit the Fluid Interface research group - MIT Media Lab to learn about other projects that are being developed.