Home Minority Report In Your Living Room: Gestural Interface Computers “Five Years” Away

Minority Report In Your Living Room: Gestural Interface Computers “Five Years” Away

If you never saw Minority Report, then we can just tell you – when Tom Cruise uses a “computer” he looks more like a conductor of an orchestra, or maybe a DJ, than your average typist. As he browses through files, he swoops his arm dramatically in the air. He forcefully pushes useless information out of the way and manipulates video with swoops and twists of invisible dials.

If you’re anything like us, all you thought was “I can’t wait to play with that.” Well, your time is coming soon.

The New York Times’ Bits Blog reports that John Underkoffler, a science consultant for Minority Report, has worked for the last decade with his company, Oblong Industries, to take the gesture-activated interface from the screen to, well, the screen. Underkoffler unveiled the interface, called the g-speak Spatial Operating Environment, at Friday’s annual TED conference.

The interface has been tested for a number of applications, from virtual pottery-making at RISD, where you watch a user create a digital wire-frame pot as if using a spinning wheel, to the more intangible Tangible Media Group at MIT, where the g-stalt interface allows the user to “manipulate complex data sets with the hands”.

“Starting today,” reads the Oblong website, “g-speak will fundamentally change the way people use machines at work, in the living room, in conference rooms, in vehicles.”

According to the article in the Times, this type of interface has already been in use in Fortune 50 companies, government agencies and universities, and it quotes Underkoffler as saying that “in five years’ time, when you buy a computer, you’ll get this”.

Several computer, PC and console makers are already getting ready to release gesture-based interfaces and consumers should start seeing them sometime within the next year, according to the Times.

g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo.

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