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Sixth Sense: The Latest Trend in Technology

Authored By Peeyush Kheria:

How would you feel to manipulate things with just the movement of your fingers? How do you feel of a state where you just look at a person and you get all the information about him? What if you are able to see the videos while reading the newspaper? Yeah, I am going to take you on a roller coaster ride. What if your mind becomes a knowledge center as powerful as internet and you have information on anything and everything in hand. When I say so, I mean the human mind coupled with as much resource as the internet itself  has and when the power of whole internet resides within you. It might look wild but Sixth Sense is one such application being developed by Pranav Mistry from TED( Technology Entertainment Design) which envisions to make this distant dream come true in near future.

This technology which talks of seamless implication of inherent capabilities of human intellect  in day-to-day life is based on the prototype which is nothing but a combination of  hand gesture recognition application using computer vision based technique of a camera, a map application which is displayed to the user at their will and user can navigate through it on a nearby surface by using hand gestures similar to multi-touch system supported gestures and a drawing application which lets user draw shapes in air using his/her index finger.  Sixth Sense is still under development phase and probably it would take around 10 years for it to come completely into existence, but this technology will surely change the way we live today.

Sixth Sense system functioning is based mainly on two things, one is a camera and the other is cell-phone. There is a projection (either on an object or on a plain surface) which is made by  the camera tied round the corner of the head of the person. The camera here captures the objects around us and identifies them and with the help of micro projector, it projects the information on any surface about that object. The information (which needs to be projected) is gathered with the help of a cell-phone which acts as a computer. This cell-phone provides the connection to the cloud (where all the information of the web is available). Further one can control the amount of information that needs to be shown, and all this can be done just by the movement of our fingers.

That apart, the system not only projects information about any object on which it is focused but also recognizes hand movements to maneuver digital objects, to zoom in on maps, shift objects from one place to another, and dig for further information about that object. If a call needs to be made, the camera will project the number pad on the hand and from there itself any number can be dialed. If one needs to know the time, just by drawing a circle on the wrist the clock can be projected showing the current time. And if this is not enough one can click pictures just by making a frame from fingers and the system stores the pictures. It might sound like a movie, but this is what Sixth Sense promises us in near future.

These are just the applications that we have seen and what Sixth sense can really do, but the power of this application resides in the connectivity that it provides, reducing the gap between the real and the digital/internet world. So suppose you are in a music store and are looking to buy a movie DVD, and you can no longer afford to buy any flop ones then come out of dilemma and use your sixth sense.  Now all that you have to do is to just hold the DVD object in front of the camera and information as to how it performed on the box office, what ratings had it received and how critics had reviewed about the movie etc  would be displayed on the DVD itself.

When we meet a person, we feel like knowing him, Sixth Sense does exactly the same. It captures the person’s image and looks up for relevant information about him on the internet and displays the same on his body or clothes at your wish. His educational qualifications, where is he currently working, his blog URL and what posts, what are his interests, in short everything that is available about him on the internet. Though this might sound like poking into someone’s private life but as long as the information is picked up from the internet, privacy issues shouldn’t creep in. To have an even clearer concept, you might like to see a demo of this intriguing concept here.

Scientists have been working on turning fantasies into realities. There was a time when making things invisible seemed impossible. Then scientists worked out to make a cloak invisible but when seen only from a single point (the direction of light falling on that object). Now they have worked a 3D cloak which can hide any object irrespective of the direction of light and irrespective of whether that object is being looked from a single point or multiple points. Google  goggles is another amazing product where the cell phone acts as a source of information, currently they are being offered free with the Google phone. One just needs to click picture of any object, heritage site, or anything, and upload to Google goggles (well not to mention, internet connectivity is must). The application is so powerful that any information that is available related to that object becomes the search result. To talk more about inherent features of upcoming technology, when we see any object using  camera, we can get the name and other related details displayed on the screen. As of now, it is still in nascent stage but days are not distant when it shall take the world with a storm.

TED people only have made some extremely useful equipments which can be utilized in our day to day life and which helps in making real time connectivity with the real and digital world. One such equipment is a digitized pen which helps in visualizing a design in a 3D space while still drawing on a 2D paper plane (paper). Here the intuition of pen and ink are present and hence it is named inktuitive. This project aims at bridging the gap between the real and digital world of design.

Another project by TED is TaPuM (Tangible Public Map), it is a digital map which allows us to get relevant information on any of the objects that we desire. Say if we have a mobile phone and we need to get more information (like features, price, etc.) about it, we just need to place the phone on TaPuMa screen and the application instantly picks up the image of that phone and searches for it on the internet and finally  displays that information on the TaPuMa screen.

There is much in store for us than we have imagined, may be tomorrow we have the flying carpet of Aladdin, or a super computer to foresee the future like in Paycheck, or even a machine which transfers us into a different space much like the famous Matrix. Let’s keep our fingers crossed on how technology can change the wildest of dreams into reality.



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