It all started with an old roller-ball type mouse. Pranav Mistry, a computer engineer at MIT, Boston MA, wanted to extend the interfacing of humans and computers and with a vision to go beyond keyboards, touch-screens and mice, he set out to bring in a new era in personal computing. Using the rollers found in a mouse and wound with wires connected to five thimbles, he was able to create a glove like controller where different gestures made with the fingers could operate a small computing unit to perform a myriad of tasks.
At the mere cost of around forty dollars, he was able to create a virtual hand which could mimic gestures done with the glove. Since these humble beginnings, his innovation and experimentation has now resulted in a unique personal computing system. Called Sixth Sense Technology, it consists of an optical camera, infrared sensor, projector and a microphone on a pod that hangs down the front, connected to a small computing console that fits into a regular sized backpack. It can be operated on the move and can use any surface as the screen be it a wall, floor, paper or even your hand.
Thimbles of assorted colors on fingertips serve as reference points and moving them in a unique way performs the corresponding action. For example, forming an L shape and an inverted L shape with the two index and thumb fingers to make a picture frame gesture automatically signals the camera to take a photo. With a cellular connection, a Numpad can be made to appear on the palm of your hand and a call can be made. The number of possibilities with this unique interface is limited only by our creativity. This technology has the potential to truly become one of our basic senses.