Jun 26, 2009

Sixth Sense - Virtual information, real world

Augmented reality finally seems to be coming to the real world. In an amazing demonstration of the possibilities, Pranav Mistry and Patti Maes of MIT Media Lab show how simple off-the-shelf components can be put together to make your own wearable gestural interface.

Called Sixth Sense, the device consists of a camera, a pocket projector with mirror and a mobile phone. The phone remains in the user's pocket, and uses visual input from the camera and the projector acts as the monitor. It can be programmed to recognise hand gestures and virtually any surface can be used as a screen.

With these basics in place, Sixth Sense can seamlessly plug in information from the virtual world to the real world. For example, a person browsing through a new bestseller at a bookstore can project Amazon ratings and reader reviews right onto the book and make instant decisions on whether to buy the book or not. You can check your flight timings by just holding the ticket in front of the camera. The system will scan the ticket and retrieve the current status from the Web, through the mobile phone's data connection.

An extremely interesting application of ubiquitous technologies, Sixth Sense has amazing potential to change how we see and interact with the world around us. By supplementing the real world with meta information and an easy-to-use interface, this is one technology that really lives up to its name. [Sixth Sense demo]