Friday, November 28, 2008

Ho-Ho-Ho from The Doctor...

...he's back, and not a moment too soon. TV needs the TARDIS...

Welcome back.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Reasons to Go Outside Get Fewer and Fewer. Seriously.

OK, this is something that deserves a bit more fanfare than it's receiving... Despite the Hollywood-ending-butchering (uh, sorry, "re-imagining") of Phillp K. Dick's short story, and despite the inclusion of Tom Cruise, a crazy person, the 2002 film "Minority Report" was chock-a-block full of "just around the corner" predictions of advances in technology and social evolution.

None of the technology was impossible to imagine, and the societal impact that these advances predict are quite close at hand. From personal transport pods on individual tracks, fully robotic auto manufacturing facilities, advertising personalization gone horribly wrong, home videos with depth (which I am convinced was based of "depth-maps" we created at long-dead Synapix in the late 90's) and even the miracle of eye transplants reduced to the disturbing mundane reality usually equated with back-alley abortions - none of these future predictions grabbed the immediacy of the gesture-based operating system used by Cruise and his buds at the "Precrime" police facility in Washington DC. The science advisers and futurists working on the film tried to imagine a logical evolution of current operating systems based off current human interaction devices (uh, mice and motion capture suiots, people) and extended it to gestures of operators wearing special gloves with sensors in the fingertips.

To add the extra spark of "wow," the film depicts the interface projected not on giant flat screens (how Star Trek, pffft) but on large transparent plates hanging from the ceiling. The result is a visually stunning scene, that was the first realistic portrayal of a future operating system I have seen for quite some time.

Apparently, John Underkoffler at MIT thought so too, because he got together with some ex-Raytheon folks, moved to LA (and, somehow, Barcellona) and formed Oblong Industries. And Oblong's first achievement? A gesture based operating system (or Spacial Operating Environment, SOE, for you kids in the know) called g-speak. g-speak (no caps) is, for all intents and purposes, the same operating environment and workflow model that is depicted in the film.

Screw multi-touch iPhones and Microsoft Surface, for complete technolust and total mind-fuckage, check out this demo reel of g-speak in action....

Bringing hollywood-tech to life has happened time and time again, from the original bridge of the Enterprise being duplicated for modern aircraft carrier bridges, to human assistance exoskeletons that allowed Ripley to beat the crap out of Momma Bug in Aliens...but I haven't seen something so exactingly executed as g-speak before.

Just one request: please do not duplicate those freaking spider-robots, please. I have enough robo-phobia as it is, thank you.

....uh, oh crap.