Getting Close to Minority Report

Remember the super-cool computer screens from the Stephen Spielberg movie Minority Report? Tom Cruise and his fellow actors were able to manipulate objects on a screen directly with their hands using an almost magical contraption that allowed true 3D interaction with digital screens and objects on them. We have been waiting for this technology since the movie came out in 2002 and finally the tech world has caught up to it.

MIT student Jinha Lee designed a prototype as an intern in the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group which allows a user to physically interact with the objects on a transparent screen. Moving windows forward and backward with your fingers, two Kinect cameras sense where the users hands are and allows for a true 3D interaction with the content on (or is that “in”) the screen. The cameras also track your head and adjust the screen’s orientation in 3D so that the view and aspect of the screen is maintained no matter the angle of view.

Here is a demo from Lee.

It is not far from becoming a commercial product and once it reaches the market it can make big impact on everything that has a screen, from a small iPod to computer assisted surgeries in medicine. This is such a brilliant technology that its only a matter of time before someone smart does something incredibly amazing with it. I just hope that it happens sooner.

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