Sixth Sense is a system that projects information about what surrounds you over objects’ surfaces, but it’s also much more. If you watch one thing today, this is it. If you have the time, you can go through the whole video and Pattie Maes’ explanation. If not, go to minute 3:10, where the demonstrations begin and your mind will be blown. The MIT student who has implemented Sixth Sense, Pranav Mistry, shows how it works.
Did you watch it yet? No. Ok… listen, Sixth Sense is in essence a mini-projector paired up with a camera and a cellphone. Together these act as the computer and your connection to the Cloud (in other words all the information stored on the web). Sixth Sense can also obey hand gestures, like in the infamous Minority Report, except that it does NOT require a screen… it can do it’s thing on any surface including walls, books, tables, YOUR HAND (for dialing a phone number for instance… seriously go watch it), or even in mid-air to take a photo.
With Sixth Sense you can access or modify information using your fingers. So if you need to make a phone call simply extend your hand in front of the projector and numbers will appear for you to click. Want to know what time it is? Draw a circle on your wrist and a watch will appear. Want to take a picture? Just make a square with your fingers, highlighting what you want to frame, and the system will take the photo… later you can organize the pictures you snapped on any surface.
The key here is that Sixth Sense recognizes the objects around you and displays the information automagically and lets you access it in any way you want. Did you watch the video yet? (HINT: GO WATCH THE VIDEO).
The stuff above is just kids play though, very COOL kids play, but it doesn’t even show the true power that Sixth Sense could bring to you. The real power of Sixth Sense is in its potential to connect the real world with the Internet, and overlaying the information on the world itself. In the video (seriously, GO WATCH IT) they demonstrate being at the supermarket and using Sixth Sense to gather data about a product. They also show picking up a book and Sixth Sense recognizes the book and displays the Amazon.com rating as well as pulling in user reviews (they go so far as to say that it could even display your favorite reviews review of the book). Further on the demonstration shows the user in a taxi heading to the airport. The user takes out his boarding pass and Sixth Sense will grab real time information about the flight and display it over the ticket (including if there is a delay and how long the delay is).
This is literally the coolest thing I’ve seen out of TED ever. Ok so seriously, go WATCH THE VIDEO!
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).
Almost 400 talks from their archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.
You can see more videos from TED here.