Interactive anything

2 10 2009

I was really intrigued by a particular invention that turns any static surface into an interactive interface. That is a cool concept, right? Imagine this, you have a cell phone and every time you need to make a call or answer a call you have to fumble around in your pocket or purse to get the phone, identify who is calling and then answer the call. It is not an efficient process. Now, imagine that your hand could act as your phone’s interface so literally you could see the information your phone would be displaying on your hand and decide if you wanted to answer the call by touching the projected phone interface image on your hand. This seems like a science fiction concept but it really is happening thanks to MIT.

A group of researchers at MIT’s Media Lab have created a mobile computing device that can handle all of the aforementioned tasks and then some. Furthermore, the device, called Sixth Sense appropriately enough, was made with off-the-shelf components for a whopping $350. Pretty impressive undertaking if you ask me. The device is gesture controlled so the computer processes users actions and matches these actions with a series of tasks. For instance, if a user where to frame an image for a picture using their forefinger and thumb, the device would recognize this command and take a picture of the framed image. Also, if you wanted to access your email, all you would need to do it compose the universal “at symbol” with your finger to have the device recognize that you wanted to access your email.

The potential this device holds is awesome. It literally can take anything that exists as a static medium and turn it into an interactive one. Newspapers could harness this potential by incorporating interactive media content with every physical paper that is bought. So as the user is reading the physical paper that they are holding in their hands, the Sixth Sense device could somehow register this information and project a video of content onto the physical paper in the users hands which relates to the story on the front page. This is just one use of the technology; clearly there are many more options that have yet to be realized. The idea is a great one, the physical components are basically ready to go. All that is left is the tweaking of design for smaller components that will appeal to average people enough to invest in it’s purchase for use within their everyday lives.

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