Experiments in a 6th Sense

Imagine this. You start off a weekend day shopping. Then you catch a baseball game. For dinner you meet some old friends, and top it all off with an evening at the opera. All day every question you have is answered, every hunch confirmed, you’re never lost nor confused nor out of the loop. It’s like you’ve acquired a new sense, one you could only describe as… omniscience?

Okay, maybe that’s a bit strong. 

A new way of interacting with the world.

A new way of interacting with the world?

The early stages of such a concept is one being explored by Patie Maes at her MIT labs and was recently unveiled at the TED conference. From a device that hangs from your neck and is controlled by hand gestures, the technology would allow users to interact seamlessly with the environment, delivering relevant, time-sensitive, and personalized information, without the need for mobile or computer screen interfaces. This glimpse into the possible future of mobile devices is sure to dazzle gadget lovers and terrify technophobes.

And while still an idea-in-progress, the potential for future widespread adoption of a technology like this continues to challenge the issues of privacy, abuse of technology, and high cost of convenience. Look no further then the lively comments section below the video to see the passionately mixed responses the device has generated thus far. 

Make sure not the last line of the presentation right before she walks off stage… key for dramatic effect.

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2 Responses to Experiments in a 6th Sense

  1. Jason says:

    Radical! Im torn over whether or not I like this technology. What database is linked up to their facial recognition software?

  2. Well for now it’s not linked to any database. The device not yet on the market, they were showing the potential for future use.

    But it’s likely such databases could become common in the near future. Law enforcement agencies are looking to get faces into their criminal databases alongside fingerprints. Commercial businesses as well are interested in the technology for directed advertising (think Minority Report: “How did those pants fit you, Jason?” asked by a computer next time you walk into a clothing store). Check out this summary for up to date news on facial recognition: http://epic.org/privacy/facerecognition/.

    Current facial recognition software even outperforms humans in recognizing each other!(http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/18796/). And with the increasing prevalence of online identities and profiles, this kind of social use could be possible — as demonstrated in the video. Kind of frightening, huh.

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