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Mind-blowing hand-controlled computing room from Oblong Industries. This is worth the watch.

The guy behind it was the tech mind behind Minority Report. Yet another piece of that future arrives here.

This is cool stuff. John Underkoffler, chief scientist, Oblong Industries, was the tech advice behind the film "Minority Report" and then he built his own company to make that science fiction real. Here he shows me his latest work which is, indeed, mind blowing. This is part I, in Part II, you'll see a new conference room that Oblong has built using these technologies. Learn more at http://oblong.com/
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209 comments
 
By the way, they never talk price, which means these systems are expensive and are aimed at big enterprises that can afford the price tag.
 
Does leap motion leap frog this technology?
 
WOW! This is awesome +Robert Scoble! I cannot wait for this to hit the consumer level (Hopefully with Leap Motion).
 
It's funny how the 'future' is stuff we thought of many years ago
 
I want one too. I love seeing stuff like this. Just can't wait for it to become affordable. In part II (this is only the first part) we see a system he built using a Kinect-style sensor and that doesn't need gloves.
 
And notice how nicely defined his chest is? In other words, couch potatoes, if you're going to use this UI, you're going to get a hell of an upper body workout!  
 
Hmmm... since porn leads the way in internet technology, I can only assume that a one-glove version will be released first.
 
Leap does look more attractive without the gloves.
 
+Robert Scoble It's cool looking (I guess?) but it's not particularly practical.  I'm never going to install this in my home with all those cameras, and I just didn't see any real practical application that made sense.  How do I do English text input in an efficient manner, for example?  It's all glitz and no substance, and that was fairly evident by the amount of time he spends talking about "cool stuff" versus actually demoing how the product is going to do those things in a real situation. 
 
The future of TED presentations, or any on-screen presentations. At first, I pictured The Nintendo Power glove, 20+ years later! And then the LCD mounted horizontally at 9:30 is the future of my office desk with touchscreen, or in this case hand movement technology. This very unique video, gives me an idea of the future of a 3D virtual world for games, my office, and as a developer (wow, i can only imagine at this point). Take an entire room with body movements and hand movements to walk through the virtual world in a multi-verse environment with mutliplayer technologies. This, is a game controller at its finest! Wicked...
 
Looking forward to pt.2 and to see these devices in production.  I have preordered a Leap unit, which I hope to combine it with a Windows 8 workstation.
 
In all fairness, it is probably not right to compare this and Leap - considering Leap is intended for a small workarea in front of your screen, while this is done more or less with a room as your playground.
 
That is amazing ! Thanks for sharing this
 
+Steve Lacy - English text input: voice recognition.  Practical uses: process, operation or monitoring situation rooms spring to mind.  You have to take a mental journey from the conceptual methods of operation showed in this demo, to practical implementations. 
 
Yet another piece? What was the other piece? This is pretty much the only piece anyone has been talking about from that movie...
 
The emergent results of simply spatialising data, are mind blowing. The ability to fully embody the mind into the machine is off the freaking map!
 
+Lars Fosdal Yeah, but that's a pretty big leap and a small market.  Situation Room monitoring doesn't need to be like how it happens on TV.  Mostly, it's a giant room full of monitors with motion detecting and auto-steering of the cameras.  "Zoom & Enhance!" is fantasy.  I don't think I'm ever going to be sitting around my house speaking the text I'm typing right now out loud.  Even with 100% accuracy, it's awkward and single user. 
 
I think the point of the vision is whatever inputs and outputs are available, they all work together in a seamless way.
For example.
I walk into my living room. I have the TV a remote, my phone in my pocket, one of those gloves in a box on the coffee table (which is something like Surface) and an Xbox 720 with a more accurate Kinect.
The OS on an OS he is talking about connects to all those things and make them available as IO to whatever I am doing.
If I pick up my phone I can grab the Google Nav app and throw it up on the coffee table. I can then point at my location on the coffee table and up on the TV comes the satellite view. I can either rely on the Kinect to grab my gestures to control the TV screen or I can get the gloves out and have more fine control ... etc etc etc
Its not about buying what they are selling, it is about defining a new underlying API that is all around us in the real world to just use as IO for the virtual world.
 
+Lars Fosdal I only use voice input on my Galaxy Nexus when I'm alone, in the car, and not driving. Which is pretty much never. 
 
Technologically a huge step forward, ergonomically a huge step backward.  Gesture-based interfaces like this offer no haptic feedback (dramatically increasing latency), rely on large muscle groups (dramatically increasing fatigue) and require the user to memorize a welter of special-case gestures (dramatic increasing the learning curve of the system).  There's not a single task in this demo that couldn't have been done faster, easier, and more accurately with a traditional mouse or game controller.  I agree with +James Cordeiro that it's very much TED-talk technology -- flashy and vacuous.
 
+Robert Scoble I left two desires on the YouTube video as Weeblo101, any chance John Underkoffler will receive them?
 
+Brian Upton think about a floor board version of the haptic interface, because this interface cannot work for the blind, but most definitely the hearing impaired. Good post!:-)
 
I can't watch the video with audio right now but it seems like the Leap Motion device could this better with no gloves or cameras and probably a lot cheaper at $70. Maybe they might need to make a slightly larger version for a setup like this, but not that much bigger.
 
+Brian Upton ,Spring assists on a puppet like aid, may be a possible answer to your muscular fatigue issues as well, keep going :-) I think you are helpful!:-)
 
I first read it as "mind-controlled computing room".  One can dream.
 
I would, well I guess I need to blow my mind to the public, but the holographic, surrounding you type display, combined with this mans original "as he said" technology would be the ultimate designers tool, not to forget to mention all engineers who would like to be on the insides of their creations, at the point of simulation, in real time. :-)
 
I say the credit goes to Michael Jackson who wore the glove when he premiered his trademark moonwalk dance back in 1983! :)
 
Looks like Hitlers face on Gary Rinebarugher-Man- let the man die -Get over it -Hitlers dead.
Jay May
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Its like Konect with nintendo power gloves
 
next up games for this
 
Amazing! Took some time but finally getting somewhere new.
 
May be mind-blowing, but way too long a lead in… sorry, I quit after 2.5 min. If they want to sell whatever they have they'll need to get a better presentation. 
 
I dont even have to WATCH this to +1 it. I will just THINK about it.
 
layering image concept to multiple screens for business purposes
 
Cool...now need some real applications to be king cost down and watch others improve this.
 
I never saw Minority Report but I am very impressed with this demonstration by Oblong Industries. Seems like we have some exciting technologies ahead (as always). Great post I really liked it as I am science "junky".
 
So much bullshit. Totally a sales pitch in the tone of a snake oil salesman. Completely insulting to my intelligence and time. Could not possibly make it through the video. Of what I did see, most could be done with a PS Move controller.
 
this guy is really well spoken and makes a great presentation, I dig how he avoided the cost factor early on, classic sales 101 technique
 
Unbelievable, what an amazing time we live in
 
VIRTUAL IMMORTALITY....LOL
Gary P.
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Really? After about 3 minutes I just wanted to see those gloves choking off the interviewer's gushing questions. Maybe orchestra conductors find this interface appealing but I suspect it's a dead branch on the ui tree. It's silly.
 
This guy sounds much more like a sales guy than a scientist, but the shit is still way cool...
 
I love how sinister that guy always looks. He couldn't actually work in an industry that desigened anything more menacing than interfaces, because he would be incarserated immediately, and an investigation would be started as to what he was really up to.
 
i couldn't hear it i think speakers are broken
 
Wonderful, but mostly good for casual things like changing a TV channel. Try operating a screen this way for half hour; it's a bit tiresome.
 
Great idea, but the interviewer could not shut up and let the spokesperson demonstrate. Both are very full of themselves that the demonstration is lost. Would be nice if he could have just been able to give his show all by himself. He was actually very patient. Had to jump through the video several places.
 
I'm positive Apple has an iPatent on this.
 
agreed! dumb questions from this guy. but this is the future, dont think I will alive to have one in my house..... 
 
I've seen some of this type of work from Sony, Carnegie Mellon, MIT and NYU. We're rapidly tracking toward invisibility. What's great about  this demo is the social anthropology consideration in UI evolution. PS, this is less a huge technical challenge than it is intelligent design.
 
This guys likes to refers his gadjet as a natural evolution to the human body, ok we get it now geeezzzz
 
Wow! It definitely is the way of revolutionizing haptic engineering. I feel it needs more research before hitting the market though.
Alea Ha
 
Whoa! That's so COOL!
 
Kinect SDK allows you to do similar things. I'm surprised MSFT could not realize the potential the sdk had to offer. I downloaded the sdk on my laptop and I was able to move the windows around using nothing but my hands and gestures.
 
I really hope the guy giving the demo is not in the sales department. I could only stand listening to this video for about 45 seconds.
 
Really amazing UI. The detail with he explained as to how UI can be made more intuitive and which in turn would make the task at hand more productive is really great. At last I now know who was the man behind envisioning the futuristic UI in the minority report. My favorite app was the one with letters. I mean the intuitiveness that he put into gestures that help play one play with the alphabet, group the together or pick couple of really captures one's imagination. This is mind bending UI.
 
wow this is really, really advanced for science
Toby A
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Runs on Linux. No surprises.
 
Saw this guy on Ted Talks a while ago, he's amazing.
 
"... all of the fantastic dexterity and expressiveness of the hand gets boiled down to 8 ASCII characters which you then do a string match to figure out what the pose is."
 
I'm tired of hearing: hand controlled computing, voice controlled computing and that, they've been built many times in the past, so when is the 25$ USD for USA and 25$ CAD for Canada of those thing are coming with 90% accuracy or better? And who will sell them?
 
Ooh, and it not mind-blowing anymore and it never was!
 
Gotta agree about this guy being pretty boring.  The video could have been 4 minutes instead of 36.
 
Whichever geek posted this is super geeky
 
+Ben Davis He's only boring to people who have no interest in the science behind the technology. As a scientist though, you can literally feel his enthusiasm and his love for what he does. How much depth of understanding can you build in your 4 minutes? So if you want a 2 minute commercial/executive summary that will hold your interest...this probably is not going to be for you.
 
The ultimate place that this will take you is the holodeck on the Enterprise-D. A theoretical room which is wallpapered with screens. Beyond that...projective true 3-D displays
 
Could not be better ... Super genius :) ... 
 
So, a demo of 3D tracking and gesture recognition mapped onto a set of virtual 3D objects.  It's not exactly earth-shattering.

It looks more niche than general purpose.  We don't really see them doing anything with the objects, just moving them around or moving the user around among them.  There are a lot of use cases for this, but they aren't really pushing for general consumers.
 
Minority report, fabulous movie. Serious content with dark humor.
 
What's the gesture to make the videographer shut his face?
 
Can you imagine google putting cameras on planes for the skyview version of streetview?
 
So sick so want. Huge props to John and Oblong
 
This is simply mindblowing. I'm very surprised and somewhat dissapointed to see so many negative comments and overall negative reception at this man's work. It's true that some things shown in the presentation most likely will never be used in a mass consumer environment, but it is my opinion that they are not supposed to be used by the average joe. People involved in research, scientists, designers, and even surgeons may be the ones who will benefit the most in this kind of technology. Imagine a machine that can map a human's brain in a 3D holographic environment; how are you supposed to navigate through the model if it is not through the use of your body's natural movement. Pointing at what you really want to see, panning and zooming a 3D holographic enviroment with just just fingertips is what comes natural to humans, he said so himself and I totally agree. Heck, 20 years who would have thought that playing video games with your body would be so succesful. Who's to say that in twenty years a surgeon's operation room won"t have this kind of technology embeded into it. Everything shown here is just in its development state. Its supposed to be flashy, even if it seems now with no real world application to attract potential investors to further develop the technology and make it usable. I know criticizing the world around you its important to make real advancements, but only it is so when you can provide new ideas to the table to polish the previous ones. Stop being annoying and enjoy the world you live in. After all, we live in interesting times.
 
Wow technology makes the world go around.i love it
 
omg this video is so awesome like totally, cha, wtf it is NOt so go ftw
 
Noticed that there is no pinkie sensor thing, only catches thumb and three fingers.... Also the markers on the fingers and palm are in different positions... to sense which finger it is? I'm only 5 minutes in. Can you type? How? Can't wait to see.
 
As my American friends would say.. "awesome!"
 
A 3D gesture based technology that uses no real physical device to supplement it (like the touch screen, mouse, Wiimote and other interfacing devices) will inevitably fail without the presence of physical interaction in 3D space. Augmented reality I believe will supplement this 3D environment for the years to come til a way to create light interfaces is developed.
 
I want this on my living room on my TV. Netflix. Ordering a pizza (sprinkle on toppings)
 
+James Jun I totally agree with your assessment that 3D gesture based technology with no real physical interaction is a recipe for failure, it would just be another cool idea waiting to be just that and be archived and only be unearthed when society starts to remember the past. But the funny thing about technology, or at least the kind we have nowadays is that it was made possible using bits and pieces of other people's work developed in the last 10 and 20 years. Some people will work in how users will interact and others will work in how we will percieve the enhanced reality. This way some other guy will find the way to put it all together and we will enjoy another simply amazing new tech that will change how we live our lives as humans.
 
The important this is that, can you do this without the gloves?
 
I can imagine a million different uses of this technology...awesome!
 
thank you so much for briefing the new product
 
This stuff is way cool. It's all about hands on!
 
It seems this type of technology is reinvented every decade or so but it never really works in the 'real world' for the same reason every time. Namely holding your arm[s] out in front of you for extended peroids of time is fatigue producing. A state that has come to be called 'gorilla arm' which also seems to have to be rediscovered every decade.

http://catb.org/jargon/html/G/gorilla-arm.html

It happened to touchscreen technology in the 70's, 80's, 90's, amd the 21'st century. It happened to VR in the 80's and 90's. And it'll happen again with these motion-based systems.

Not to say something like this won't find a niche use. Motion-based systems like the wiimote or kinect work well for games. Just as touch based systems ended up working well for moblie devices because we don't use a cellphone or tablet for 8 hours streight, but rather a few minutes here and there.

Leap Motion looks interesting because it seems you could set it up to use it along side your keyboard and mouse - no holding your hand out infront of your face. Or Microsoft's kinect for windows which would also be an addition, not a replacement for, a keyboard and mouse.

But this. . . I cannot see anyoneusing this to do anything for extended peroids of time.
 
Fluid and dexterous and very very expensive.
 
romney will buy this with the taxes he owe. The gloves will be cowboy brown
 
hey aunty pls add me
 
Hope i live long enough to see this available for home users - kudos to the egg heads. 
 
An amazing demonstration of amazing work.
 
Thinking about it a bit longer... I am wondering about the day when I can stand in the middle of my house, wave my hand in the general direction of the curtains, which swish shut... then another wave and my favourite tv show starts up... a peek n the kitchen and a snap of my fingers and the microwave oven starts heating up my dinner...etc... that is my kind of user interface. Why stick at computers? And the little robot slave better be there, too.
 
You can do all that with less effort using a mouse, this will not be useful ever unless it was to get fit........next
 
lazy... i'll wait for control using thoughts (brain–computer interface ^_^)
 
just one thing to say.. go Google "Leap Motion". MUCH BETTER
 
I can't wait for a 'House of the Dead' style game running on this and to use your hands as guns!
 
Interviewer sucks eggs. FAIL - as a quick point of interest for G+'ers. It's more than 9 mins of lame questions and dialogue before the first semi-interesting demo of the equip. Even then, it's tough to fight through unless you have a direct interest in this tech.
 
I used to have one of these. It was called a Nintendo Power Glove.
 
This is some mind blowing stuff! Minority report is now achievable! But the real question everyone wants to ask is... when will we be able to get a hover board! :o) 
 
i`m deaf so i turned on the closed captioning and if he was saying what i was reading it didn`t make any sense at all. i`ve found the captioning on most internet videos too messed up to make any sense.
 
Thats a lot of sensors...would be interesting to see how they can make this in a smaller package. I think Microsoft could evolve the Kinect on a larger scale for the mainstream!
 
Special gloves? Whole arm movements? As Steve Jobs said: "We've done tons of user testing on this and it turns out, touch surfaces don't want to be vertical. It gives great demo but after a short period of time you begin to fatigue and after an extended period of time your arms want to fall off."

This could work:

https://leapmotion.com/

For niche applications. 
 
+Eur van Andel Blackboards have been around for a long time. People have been pointing, gesturing for a long time too...and no arms have fallen off. The success of Apple's mobile phone for the last few years doesn't automatically translate into a universal prophecy about computers. For that matter, out of 36 years that Apple has existed, it has been widely popular for only the last 6 or 7. Steve Jobs was a weak looking, thin but excellent marketer. But that's about all he was.
 
After being on the run from the law for so long, I'm so happy I can finally have my eyes replaced so no one can track me anymore just like in Minority Report. Wait what... only the touch screens are here? Shoot!
 
This is just impressive, crazy impressive!....
 
Excellent... Mais á la fin le port des gants doit fatiguer...
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Thanks for sharing. I worked in the Data Processing field for 20 years. The first system was an IBM 1401. So I witnessed the changes at a slower rate than you all do. Its truly remarkable what iis being accomplished today. Thanks again you brought my geeky nerd self out.
 
This is some Really Cool Tech! Amazing.
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