When Pranav Mistry previewed this technology during an enthralling TED Talk in November 2009, he promised that, one day in the near future, developers would have access to the tools they needed to build their own "Sixth Sense" devices, open-source-style.
Sixth Sense uses hand gestures to control interactions as opposed to a mouse, trackball, or screen. Mistry's goal: To seamlessly connect the virtual and physical worlds in order to make the computing experience more intuitive. As a result, he wanted to remove the digital world from the confines of the smartphone or tablet and bring that world to everyday objects such as paper, walls, and t-shirts.
"Rather than getting your camera out of your pocket, you can just do the gesture of taking a photo and it takes a photo for you," he said in the video.
The Future Is Here
In his TED talk, Pranav Mistry demonstrated his open-source-based technology that eliminates the need for typical screens or hardware, and uses "screens" such as paper, wrists, or walls to display data.
Recently Mistry lived up to his promise of sharing his powerful technology. The code and hardware component list (HCL) for Sixth Sense are now available. Wearable technology, as defined by Apple, Samsung, Dell, HP, and Microsoft, looks much different than the world Mistry envisioned four years ago. By offering this technology for free and open-source-style, Sixth Sense is definitely not on the same roadmap that the big boys of high tech are traveling.
The components you need to build a Sixth Sense device are both off-the-shelf and inexpensive. They include:
Camera to capture the user’s hand movements and gestures, take pictures, and interpret users' “framing” gestures. Approximate cost: $50
Projector for output (GUI), giving the ability to use virtually any surface as a “monitor,” as well as augmenting physical objects with real-time content. Approximate cost: $250
Mirror measuring 1” x 1” as a physical relay for the projected image. Approximate cost: $5
Microphone, used to enable paper as an interactive surface by capturing sound across the paper medium. With current camera tech, the microphone is usually part of the camera apparatus. Approximate cost: $0
Mobile computing device -- smartphone or laptop. Approximate cost: Varies
That totals about $300 in hardware, all based on readily available, off-the-shelf components. That's not a huge investment, given the impact of the technology. Currently, no (or perhaps only a few) VARs are marketing Sixth Sense, although I predict this will change -- soon. Packaging the system with software to create a usable bundle of some wearable device at an inexpensive purchase price is inevitable.
Gaming platforms adopted gesture- and voice-based recognition, allowing for free-form game play and voice command for software manipulation. Microsoft, Apple, and BlackBerry accustomed users to control their devices via gesture and swipe commands. Now a new tier of tablet manufacturers can pull up a seat at the mobile table, given the low-cost barrier to entry and the potential market for vertical, specialized, inexpensive models, or diverse new wearable prototypes based on these open-source specs.
The table has been set for a truly intuitive platform to sweep the marketplace. I foresee the release of “Sixth Sense” as a free open-source alternative will have a big effect on an already explosive impact.
Well, what I was just reading is that it will need special apps... its not clear if thats for the device to function or apps that will take full advantage of it. To make myself clear, will it work with my current apps or will I need a whole new set of apps? If its the latter, I dont see it going far.
This technology is very similar to Leap Motion. If you havent heard of it, check it out (theres a nice youtube video). Coincidentally, it announced it will sell its tech soon.
@Mr.Roques, thanks for sharing this info. Just read that this company has created a system that seems to let you type on thin air and it also has predictive text correction. It would be interesting to know what other products are being developed by this company.
I was also actually thrilled when I saw this Pranav Mistry's TED talk more than a couple of years ago. What is commendable about it is, he is releasing it in the open source market. Probably the reason might be that the hardware is very simple enough to manufacture. But, whatever it is, I just hope to see the sixth sense ddevices ASAP.
I like this concept. We can consolidate the number of object we need to use by making them all more multifunctional. We're already seeing this in our phones, tablets and computers. But this is the next step, especially for those of us who like to own less, not more.
Open source initiatives by Firefox, releasing an Ubuntu-based browser shell for mobile OS's is really gaining a lot of interest from those looking for inexpensive alternatives to Android, Apple, and BlackBerry smart phone devices.
I think this whole sixth sense technology will change the future as we know it. It seems like more and more people are adoption tablets, as well as touch screen computers. It seems like it won't be much longer before mouse and keyboards become no longer the norm. It is both sad and exciting. I am just curious as to how many people are willing to give up the control the actual keyboard and mouse have willingly, before they become rare?
When I saw the TedX Talks featuring the Sixth Sense Tech, I immediately pictured Tom Cruise in Minority Report manipulating a virtual database interface. Even that fictional representation required the user wear gloves! Amazing what Sixth Sense is doing at such a reasonable price!
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