“Minority Report” OS Is Real

Oblong Industries is the company behind a new operating system they’ve dubbed g-speak (presumably for “gesture speak”) and describe as the “world’s first spacial spatial operating environment (SOE).”  What’s particularly unique about this new technology is how it found it’s way to market (well, I’m assuming it has already made it to market in a secret military application…more on that below).  It found its beginning at MIT in the 1990s at the Media Lab and then the producers of the movie Minority Report hired one of the developers (John Underkoffler) as their science adviser who is now Chief Scientist for Oblong.  According to Underkoffler:

“The movie was actually based on work that we were performing at MIT,” Underkoffler says. So it wasn’t really science fiction.

“It was only masquerading as science fiction. Now, it’s science fact,” he says.

Not surprisingly, the project to develop this technology has been quietly funded by defense contractor Raytheon.

But not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon just yet.  Last year at a conference on media, several interesting questions were raised including:

  • Gestural interfaces sound swell, but what if you are disabled?
  • Aren’t brainwaves more practical and less tiring for controlling an computer in the near future?
  • How do gestural interfaces work when you’re in a small space?

I for one think this will be (is?) great.  Yes, it won’t be perfect and there will be shortcomings, but should we have abandoned the GUI introduced by Xerox and Apple because of carpal tunnel?  Of course not!  So my only question is how long until we can use this thing and add “g-finger” to the list of ailments we have to deal with?

Lastly, below is the video of g-speak in action that will blow your mind.

g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo.