Day 80: Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo Sixth Sense

How much information does a smartphone give us access to? When you meet somebody now, do you take out your tablet and google them? In the supermarket, how many people do you see comparing toilet paper brands to see which is the most ecologically friendly?

Pattie Maes and her team at Media Lab have been working on solutions to give people easier access to such information. In this talk, they demo their latest work. Maes wears a camera and a mirror which communicate to the mobile phone in her pocket. The camera allows the wearer to use their hands to interact with any surface in front of them, as well as recognising iconic gestures such as the, ‘take a photo’ signal. In mass production, a sleeker device wouldn’t cost much more than most cellphones.

The team are really excited about their invention because of its ‘sixth sense’ abilities to give information about the world in front of the user. The video demo shows Pranav picking up a book in a bookstore, which immediately comes up with its Amazon rating and several user reviews on the front cover. Flicking through the pages could give annotations from a favourite critic or friend. An interaction with a famous person might give a list of the tags associated with that person.

The technology is a work in progress, but the team are confident that the first sixth sense brain implants may happen in our lifetime.

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