While Minority Report wasn’t a great movie by any means [a police force arresting people for ‘future’ crimes based on the ‘visions’ of what were essentially crack-babies? please], the vision of a near future portrayed by the filmmakers was incredibly compelling. Eye scans at stores? Probably going to happen. Cars that get on the highway and drive themselves? Already in development. And now Pattie Maes and Pranav â€˜Zombieâ€™ Mistry of the MIT Media Lab have even developed a portable version of the dope computer interface that Tom Cruise used to flip through images of future murders – minus the disturbing violent crime content.
Called SixthSense, the device is a ‘wearable gestural interface’ – giving the wearer/user the ability to project a display on any surface and then interact with that display using simple hand gestures. More than a simple computer that is projected on a wall, the device aims to provide nearly seamless integration of technology and the internet with everyday life. Don’t pull out your iPhone to google something you’ve just seen – simply ‘click’ on a button that SixthSense projects on whatever/whoever you’re looking at for more information.
And their prototype only costs $350. That’s less than I paid for my first iPod, I’m sad to say.
So let’s say they develop a working version of this that goes to mass production – which they, or someone else, will – and that you don’t need to wear a projector around your neck and a laptop on your back. Maybe a cellphone in your pocket, and some kind of contact-lens display a la Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End [not a good book, but interesting for it’s vision of the future of the ‘net and user interfaces]. We then have this technology, and the laptop/netbook trend dies on the spot. Desktops are for serious 9 to 5 work and little else. How does this affect the way we see our environment? How does this affect the way we design?
Up until now, architecture in particular has barely started to consider the integration of new, internet-age technologies in terms of how they affect our interactions with the space we inhabit [mostly because they haven’t]. Space for a computer and desk, or for you flat-screen TV is considered – maybe even an open wall for projecting [but only in one area]. Does the development of something like SixthSense mean that we begin to consider the implications of the world as one giant web interface – or does it mean that design no longer has to take these technologies into consideration at all?
I guess I’m interested in the minimalist and post-technological possibilities this type of technology may foster. Increased ambiguity of a space’s purpose, and additional value given to the flexibility of spaces – along with the idea that when you turn off your tech, its gone – could be exciting.
Posted: May 28th, 2009
at 4:12pm by orangemenace
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