Ubiquitous, networked interactivity: a “sixth sense” gadget
February 6th, 2009

(Thanks to Stuart Silverstone!)

MIT researcher Patty Maes unveiled a new device in Southern California on Wednesday described as a “sixth sense” gadget that creates new possibilities for interacting with one’s environment. The device combines a digital camera, a projector, and a mobile phone, to record and retrieve immediate data about objects nearby, while allowing users to interface with the device by projecting a touch screen, controlled by hand gestures. All this in a device small enough to be worn easily:

US university researchers have created a portable “sixth sense” device powered by commercial products that can seamlessly channel Internet information into daily routines.

The device created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists can turn any surface into a touch-screen for computing, controlled by simple hand gestures.

The gadget can even take photographs if a user frames a scene with his or her hands, or project a watch face with the proper time on a wrist if the user makes a circle there with a finger.

The MIT wizards cobbled a Web camera, a battery-powered projector and a mobile telephone into a gizmo that can be worn like jewelry. Signals from the camera and projector are relayed to smart phones with Internet connections.

“Other than letting some of you live out your fantasy of looking as cool as Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report’ it can really let you connect as a sixth sense device with whatever is in front of you,” said MIT researcher Patty Maes.

Maes used a Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference stage in Southern California on Wednesday to unveil the futuristic gadget made from store-bought components costing about 300 dollars (US).

The device can recognize items on store shelves, retrieving and projecting information about products or even providing quick signals to let users know which choices suit their tastes.


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