MIT researchers create cheap "sixth-sense" ubiquitous computing device

Edward Willett @ 05-02-2009

800px-Augmented_reality_-_heads_up_display_concept The era of ubiquitous computing progresses apace (Via PhysOrg):

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.

According to the researchers, the gadget (unveiled by MIT researcher Pattie Maes at the Technology, Entertainment, Design [TED] conference currently underway in Long Beach, California) uses about $300 U.S. worth of store-bought components, and can do things like recognize items on store shelves, retrieve and project information about products, look at an airplane ticket and let the user know whether the flight is on time, or recognize books in a book store, project reviews or author information from the Internet onto blank pages, and recognize articles in newspapers and retrieve the latest related stories or video from the Internet. You can interact with the data using any surface–even your hand if nothing else is available. “Maybe in ten years we will be here with the ultimate sixth-sense brain implant,” Maes said.

Forgot about trekking to the Wizard. Dorothy should have got the Strawman one of these.

(Image: Leonard Low, Concept for augmented reality mobile phone, via Wikimedia Commons.)

[tags]computers,augmented reality,technology,gadgets[/tags]

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One Response to “MIT researchers create cheap "sixth-sense" ubiquitous computing device”

  1. gonzomehum says:

    Oh, good. Been waiting ages for augmented reality tech to mature enough for commercial use. The fact that they made it out of off-the-shelf components – and made it look pretty good, at that – is extremely promising.