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For using off-the-shelf components, MIT researcher Garratt Gallagher's hand-driven interface is quite impressive.  (Source: MIT-CSAIL via YouTube)

The system uses the Xbox 360's shiny new Kinect accessory and open-source libraries.  (Source: Engadget)
Now why didn't Microsoft include THIS with its Kinect bundle

It's frustrating to always watch films like The Minority Report and Iron Man II where characters zip through their ultra-productive days, leveraging exotic interfaces that perform the toughest tasks and ease.  And they even look cool using these visualizations to boot.  But when the movie light fades, you're off to your car with its boring old dash display and probably will greet work the next day in front of the same boring old UI.

Fortunately, the brains at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (MIT-CSAIL, for short) have created [video] a real life exotic interface that uses a gaming console that you might find in your family den or living room.

Using ROS ("an open-source, meta-operating system for your robot") and libfreenet ("a lower-level API for sending and receiving messages over a Freenet connection, and for reading and writing raw data streams"), and an off-the-shelf Xbox 360 with Microsoft Kinect, MIT researcher Garratt Gallagher has created a system similar to 
The Minority Report's hand driven GUI.

The Microsoft Kinect can "see" the position of your fingers and palms, allowing you to control your floating GUI with ease.  You can resize images, move them around, spin them, delete them, scroll down a list of images, or relegate images to a special tray in the demonstration.

There's probably a few questions on your mind now.  First, why didn't Microsoft think this up in the first place?  Well, give the folks at Microsoft some credit for designing as impressive a piece of hardware as the Kinect -- that made life for Mr. Gallagher a whole lot easier.  But hopefully Microsoft does take note and decides to scoop up this idea and add it to the default Kinect bundle.

Your second question might be, how did this MIT researcher come up with such a intriguing GUI?  Well his creation is perhaps less than surprising, given that the design team for 
The Minority Report and other typical futuristic flicks are full of MIT alumnis.  For example The Minority Report leveraged the talents of MIT Media Lab alumnus John Underkoffler and former MIT architecture dean William J. Mitchell.  



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RE: alumni is plural already
By Sifl on 12/9/2010 12:42:14 PM , Rating: 5
you are correct, "no," most people do not need to know or understand Latin. However, if you write papers for school, or use it (or any other foreign language) in print or online, it would help to know some of the basics.

it is kinda cool though to go to all the really old churches in Europe where all the inscriptions are in Latin and be able to read them yourself. But I digress...


RE: alumni is plural already
By foolsgambit11 on 12/9/2010 3:32:15 PM , Rating: 2
You're absolutely right. Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis....


RE: alumni is plural already
By Sifl on 12/10/2010 12:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
ooh, that's intense. can't get the meaning of the 2nd half. 1st bit is something like "if time changes" or something like that?


RE: alumni is plural already
By freaqie on 12/11/2010 11:56:21 AM , Rating: 2
Times are changing, and we are changing with them.

freely translated, by my old long forgotten latin...
so I might be wrong,

anyway, nice piece of research,
there is a video on youtube on it, and it does still seem a bit slow and chunky, then again who can expect it to be really fluid so short after the Tech has been lanched and "jailbroken"


RE: alumni is plural already
By The Raven on 12/14/2010 10:31:51 AM , Rating: 2
I think he was trying to make an ironic comment. Like saying Latin is nearly dead and so that's why people don't get why it is good to know.

The "times change" part speaks to the fact that Latin is not a living language. The "we are changing with them" part is speaking to the fact that the first respondant to the OP thinks it is near useless to know Latin.

I don't know... it's all Greek to me!


"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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