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TEDTalks

TEDTalks

Posted: June 2, 2010 10:34 AM

John Underkoffler Points to the Future of UI

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Minority Report science adviser and inventor John Underkoffler demos g-speak -- the real-life version of the film's eye-popping, tai chi-meets-cyberspace computer interface. Is this how tomorrow's computers will be controlled?

When Tom Cruise put on his data glove and started whooshing through video clips of future crimes, how many of us felt the stirrings of geek lust? This iconic scene in Minority Report marked a change in popular thinking about interfaces -- showing how sexy it could be to use natural gestures, without keyboard, mouse or command line.

John Underkoffler led the team that came up with this interface, called the g-speak Spatial Operating Environment. His company, Oblong Industries, was founded to move g-speak into the real world. Oblong is building apps for aerospace, bioinformatics, video editing and more. But the big vision is ubiquity: g-speak on every laptop, every desktop, every microwave oven, TV, dashboard. "It has to be like this," he says. "We all of us every day feel that. We build starting there. We want to change it all."

Before founding Oblong, Underkoffler spent 15 years at MIT's Media Laboratory, working in holography, animation and visualization techniques, and building the I/O Bulb and Luminous Room Systems.