Print 45 comment(s) - last by The Raven.. on Dec 14 at 10:31 AM

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: Uniformed Journalists Annoy Me
By The Raven on 12/9/2010 4:14:41 PM , Rating: 2
Umm... impressive on your heartbeat (which wouldn't be a bad thing for most people). It is impressive as a piece of video game exercise equipment, but this Minority Report mumbo jumbo will never be mainstream as a replacement for a mouse since it is easier to use a mouse clicking buttons than it is having to wave your arms around to check your mail.

It looks cool and what not, but it is impressive like the Segway. Or this...

Near useless technology for most of us in my opinion. And yes, that is just my opinion. The thing seems to be selling well so other's must disagree.

RE: Uniformed Journalists Annoy Me
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2010 7:28:24 AM , Rating: 2
Oh come on. I'd map closing IM windows at work to flipping it off.

But yeah there really isn't a simpler, cheaper way to implement the basic functionality of a mouse. Sure you could do touch screens, but then you have fingerprints all over your display. Until machine-brain interfaces are perfected to where you can think to move a mouse and type just as fast as you can move/type, then the keyboard and mouse are here to stay. And even then, how do you filter out the million random thoughts going through a brain when typing and what you actually want to type?

Even in Star Trek they still use touch displays instead of direct neural control. I think as humans, we are far more comfortable interacting with something through touch to generate a result than just sitting there thinking it.

RE: Uniformed Journalists Annoy Me
By The Raven on 12/14/2010 10:24:48 AM , Rating: 2

Touchscreens are still less friendly than mice on the desktop because instead holding your arm up for hours to navigate a 17" touchscreen area, you can use like 8" of space with a mouse and you don't have to hold your arm (/s. That's right. I'm looking at you multitouch displays...) up all day.

In general, touch is only good for small handheld screens.

RE: Neural control, I always think of the chaos that could result with a stray thought. Take this bit from Kyle Dunnigan as an example...

RE: Uniformed Journalists Annoy Me
By Fritzr on 12/10/2010 7:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
There is a major drawback to the motion based display.

You're working on that important report and just as you are adding the final changes your Italian coworker stops to say a few words...the gestures he uses to accent his speech, closes and erases your report, then activates a secure drive erase ... oopsy

Mice don't do that kind of thing...yet :P

RE: Uniformed Journalists Annoy Me
By ekv on 12/11/2010 3:03:35 AM , Rating: 2
Gestures vs. speech.

Gestures could require face recognition before being allowed to execute.

Speech could require speaker identification. Of course, that's an extremely difficult problem. There is the microphone array ... if it has sufficient spatial resolution then we can determine that the speech commands were coming from a non-recognized/non-authorized source.

Lastly, even if you use a mouse to erase your report you can "undo" it. If you try to close your report (w/o saving) via mouse interface then there is still a "Are you sure?" dialog. It'd be reasonable to expect something similar for speech. And why the heck didn't you speak up and say "NOOOOOO!" [Your name isn't Adam is it? 8]

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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