SixthSense: A Little Less Bruce Willis and a Little More Tom Cruise

September 22, 2010 at 7:12 pm Leave a comment

I see dead people. Nope. Nevermind. What do I see with this SixthSense instead?

Imagine this. You’re reading a newspaper, but in place of the picture that goes along with the article, a video starts playing. You can actually see the winning touchdown pass from last night’s game replay on the front page of the sports section. You flip to the back page to check out the weather and it updates to the most current forecast. This is doable, right? Just make the newspaper out of a sturdy material and build in the technology.

Here’s another scenario. You run into a friend after class and they invite you over to their house for an impromptu cookout of burgers and beverages. At one point while hanging, you realize this is a good photo op for you and your friends. You tell your friends to hang on while you grab your phone and turn on the camera option for some quick pics. Afterwards, you want to show your friends the awesome snapshots that you just got, but you all have to huddle around the tiny screen to see them. Is there an easier way? Absolutely.

Think Minority Report meets the Wii in real life.

We’ve just solved both problems quickly, technologically and simply.

Well, we haven’t, but Pranav Mistry has.

As Mistry explains on his website, SixthSense is a wearable gestural interface that allows us to access, use and store information applicable to our physical world. In other words, information from a portable computer is projected on our environment and we can interact with that computer through hand movements and images taken by the computer’s camera.

In the newspaper scenario, SixthSense would scan the article you are reading and search online for video corresponding to the article’s topic. The video is then projected onto the newspaper. The computer can also recognize the weather map on a page and can project current temperatures and radar onto the map.

SixthSense is capable of taking pictures by using the snapshot gesture (as seen in the photo below), allowing the user to capture moments that pass more quickly than the time it takes to dig out a camera. Want to review or show off the photos you’ve taken? SixthSense can project on any surface and you can easily view, edit and even send photos from any location.

Mistry has further developed this technology to allow you to drag images and applications to or from another computer by just pinching the item and sliding it on or off the computer screen. Images and text can also be borrowed from paper documents, combined and printed directly from SixthSense.

Besides being a pretty cool little gadget, SixthSense is also being looked at as a potential tool for people with disabilities. It can essentially become FifthSense and be used as a partial replacement for communication or navigation.

What could make this any sweeter? Two words. Open source. Mistry has also announced that he will be releasing the software as open source and will be providing instructions on how to assemble the hardware for the gadget. For those of you who don’t recognize the term, open source means that the code is available for free and people can use it and make changes to it on their own (given the knowledge, of course). And what about the price tag for this project? $350.

While the software and design specs are not available yet, check out his website for more information on SixthSense and for a cool video actually showing the technology in use. http://www.pranavmistry.com/projects/sixthsense/

Don’t forget to head over to Blackboard and take the extra credit quiz!

Thanks for reading! Have an awesome rest of the week!

Sarah

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