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Oblong's g-speak Brings "Minority Report" Interface To Life

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the staged-mock-up-or-real-time-control? dept.

Displays 221

tracheopterix writes "Oblong Industries, a startup based in LA has unveiled g-speak, an operational version of the notable interface from Minority Report. One of Oblong's founders served as science and technology adviser for the film; the interface was an extension of his doctoral work at the MIT Media Lab. Oblong calls g-speak a 'spatial operating environment' and adds that 'the SOE's combination of gestural i/o, recombinant networking, and real-world pixels brings the first major step in computer interface since 1984.'" The video shown on Oblong's front page is an impressive demo.

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gorilla arm (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842339)

Gorilla arm.

That is all I've got to say.

Check the jargon file if you don't understand this.

Re:gorilla arm (5, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842381)

Well said... I thought this comic [ok-cancel.com] illustrated it well, also.

Comic is on topic (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842987)

How's the comic offtopic?

Back in my school days, one form of _punishment_ was being made to hold your hands up or out for many minutes. Imagine if you had to keep your arms extended for so long - talk about asking for a new set of RSI problems.

The full 3-D gesture stuff is overrated.

What would help me a lot more is the ability to quickly switch to a particular window in mind:

http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=121349 [kde.org]

Even if you don't have all your windows maximized, it would save a fair bit of time. Alt-Tab only works well if you are switching between two windows.

You can kind of do this on the Linux/BSD console but it's more limited. I'm looking for something like the text console but for the GUI and where you get to pick your "working set" of 9 or so windows from as many windows you have open.

Re:Comic is on topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25843337)

"The full 3-D gesture stuff is overrated."

Personally it simply hasn't been well done yet, and 3D stuff does not equaqlly do well in all types of applications. Use the Right interface for the job(tm). So for some applications 3D stuff most likely is going to have some serious bonus's.

Personally I'd love to use my eyes instead in addition to a mouse to track when doing daily work, instead of having to push buttons one can just blink or overlap where the mouse is pointed with ones eye.

Re:gorilla arm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842383)

I love niggers. If you think it's wrong to say you love niggers, it is because of racism!

Re:gorilla arm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842933)

Yes it is. Yours.

g for gay? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842351)

Didn't see the movie.

Holy cow. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842377)

I'm gonna need that.

Nice (5, Funny)

bb84 (1301363) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842379)

...but until it shows me the future I won't be *too* impressed.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842413)

Sweet.. let me make some comment here about how unimpressed I am to make everyone else think I'm too cool to care.. when in reality I want one of those so bad I'd kill for it... OHSNAP

Nice impact. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842443)

You and Torvalds will be hit by a bus...speeding...downhill...through the snow...both ways.

How about that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842389)

It's like Engadget, three days later.

g-speak? (1, Offtopic)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842405)

Ok, lets register gchat, so people will get totally lost between gchat, g-speak and google talk.

Not impressive at all (5, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842431)

Actually, I call that an extremely unimpressive demo. It is a lot of technology with little purpose. In that entire video, what are they doing? Just spinning a bunch of pictures around.

Without a compelling application that requires that interface, it's a just a big, expensive toy.

Re:Not impressive at all (4, Funny)

plantman-the-womb-st (776722) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842465)

Indeed, controlled with a Power Glove [wikipedia.org] no less.

Re:Not impressive at all (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842757)

I love the Power Glove. It's so bad!

Re:Not impressive at all (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842467)

The entire time I was thinking "This is cool!" But I can't come up with any way it would make what I do day to day easier than the UI I have now. Typing looks to be a real bitch!

Re:Not impressive at all (4, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842537)

Medicine, 3-D rescue mission/fire control mission planning, biology, CAD, art, anything with complex data sets, physics, movie editing, and 3-D movie creation come to mind. The intuitive 3-D control will allow whole new interfaces.

Re:Not impressive at all (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843239)

In most if not all of those you mentioned having a 3d view would barely get you halfway there. The problem is you need to be able to TOUCH, I mean really touch, to truly interact. And that is where we really suck right now. Because all of the sensory feedback devices I have seen so far including the really high dollar still in the testing phase ones, really only give you soft/hard. They can't give you warm or slippery or squishy or cold or kinda bumpy or.....you get the idea. We humans pick up so much by touch that we simply don't realize, and when you cut us off from those sensations we can still work but not nearly as well.

That is why IMHO this stuff will never be more than kind of an "ooh cool" kind of expensive toy or for really really tiny niche roles until we can interface the brain directly. Because trying to simulate all the things we can gleam from simple touch would be just to insanely expensive to ever be practical. But if we can figure out a way to send the data to the brain directly, either by some sort of implant or perhaps through sensors on the scalp, then we don't HAVE to come up with a physical way to fake all this data, we can send it to the brain directly. It would also get rid of the "gorilla arm" problem as you wouldn't have to wave your arms like a maniac trying to work since you could simply manipulate the data with your thoughts, or even basic eye tracking.

Call me crazy, but I think that an interface controlled by the mind could really give us a great leap forward. Even typing this post think of how much faster it would be if my thoughts simply appeared on the page? I guess it is because all these oversized 3d interfaces just seem like overkill, like a holodeck. I know the Star Trek fans will kill me, but let us be honest: holodecks are dumb. You are wasting all that space and energy to give ONE person a little fantasy land to play in. That is really really dumb. When I saw the Voyager episode "Equinox" I thought THAT was what a holodeck would really be like. Instead of wasting all this energy trying to create a physical simulation to interact with just send the signals directly to the brain where they can be experienced with minimal power required.

Maybe it is just me, but I think this thing too is going overboard with trying to give physical interaction, when it is mental interaction that we should be striving for. But it does look like it would be fun to play with for a half an hour or so, or until your arms feel like falling off, whichever came first.

Re:Not impressive at all (4, Interesting)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843505)

Yeah but who would have thought that people would by teleconference rooms. I think it's a nice impressive toy, but someone with a lot of money (company money) is going to decide they need it to impress customers. I can already see someone swapping around Impress documents during a meeting. It'll happen, it'll make no sense, but it will happen.

Re:Not impressive at all (1)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843541)

Oh shit, I just thought of a real world application. Training. Where you want people to interact with something in a 3-d way. Say you want to show someone how to change a tire. Without them actually changing a tire. ( well something more expensive and complicated). Someones building widgets. They could interact with the screen without touching it and attach a database id to it.
Crap I hated this thing.

Re:Not impressive at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842543)

"Killer Apps" for business are what bring people to new systems of doing things. Things like Visicalc or Lotus 1-2-3. The critical parts to note are that until the corporate world really adopts something as viable it will not find its way into the mainstream, it will simply exist as a research entity or a hobbyists toy

Re:Not impressive at all (1)

vipw (228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842637)

Yeah. Like Nintendo.

I thought this article was about... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842557)

niggers

Re:Not impressive at all (2, Interesting)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842581)

Are you kidding me? This is the future interface of parallel programming, among other things. Rotate'm, push'm, pull'm, drag'm and drop'm. This technology will allow us to walk inside or fly through our programs and quickly create and/or modify them through trial-and-error. Kinda like the way an interior decorator might rearrange the furniture and colors on the walls. This is the beginning of the end of keyboards and mice and typing. Add a voice recognition interface and this shit is going to kick ass. It will turn users, gamers and developpers into magicians.

Not a programmer, are you? (4, Insightful)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842699)

I can't imagine a less efficient way to get any actual work done :-(

Apart from the arm strain, I think that saying, "if open-parenthesis p-underscore-temp-var-x-y-z-b-b-q close-parenthesis newline open-curly-brace newline temp-var-x-y-z-b-b-q equals asterisk p-underscore-temp-var-x-y-z-b-b-q semicolon newline close-curly-brace newline", more than, say, once, would engender homicidal rage.

you're a fucking idiot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842779)

have a nice day!

Re:Not a programmer, are you? (4, Funny)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842837)

I can't imagine a less efficient way to get any actual work done

tried Vista?

Re:Not a programmer, are you? (3, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843099)

"Select Open parent this is p under score temp bar sex why z be be queue close apparent cheeses!"

Re:Not impressive at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25843261)

Can you talk about anything but: parallel programming while being ridiculous at the same time?

Re:Not impressive at all (4, Interesting)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842633)

Agreed. These people are demonstrating something almost completely useless while I use a very traditional method - text entry via keyboard - to learn programming in a console. And I'm a 3D illustrator.

People keep harping about 3D visualization being the next big thing, but while these awkward, hammer-seeks-nail inventions come and go, simple things like the classic terminal are *increasing* in popularity, if anything. New Linux users and experienced Mac users are saying things like, "actually, I just use the terminal to do such-and-such a task; it's faster that way."

Re:Not impressive at all (1)

Hertne (1381263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842799)

New Linux users and experienced Mac users are saying things like, "actually, I just use the terminal to do such-and-such a task; it's faster that way."

I can see why. Most people that are experienced enough to know what a terminal is, much less how to use one, have seen graphic demos such as this at one time or another.

People know that computers can do things and make those things getting done look fancy. The thing is, now a lot of those bells and whistles have lost their "new" value. Now people are more interested in getting things done quickly, and more often than not using a terminal does get things done quicker.

I sort of agree (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843021)

Yes, in real world applications this would likely be frustrating, but in games it would prod serious buttock.

After all, games are designed to entertain, not maximise your productivity.

I've been a programmer for five years now, in physics/graphics/biosciences/allkindsofstuff, and I can't think of a single application beyond display of datasets at conferences where this might be useful.

As a replacement to the traditional PowerPoint/PDF conference presentation, it would likely prove entertaining, or at least make your presentation stand out.
Also possibly for demonstrating concepts in lectures *maybe*. For day to day use in a commercial environment, forget it.

Of course the emacs people will all claim they had this decades ago, good old 'C-m C-x spatial' or somesuch.

Re:I sort of agree (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843075)

Actually from games like starcraft, you can see that sustained and peak "actions per second" can be quite important. An interface that can let you increase that will be great.

Thing is, maybe just a keyboard and _two_ mice (each with a fair number of mouse buttons) and some optional foot pedals would do far more in increasing the sustained actions per second than fancy gorilla arm stuff.

For example for an FPS you could have movement control with one mouse and one screen/window. And weapon control with another mouse and window at the same time.

For RTS games one mouse could be used for maintainance and building and the other for attacking.

Two mice + keyboard is a cheap setup. You could easily leave out the foot pedals to cut the cost (they don't add as much bang for buck).

Re:Not impressive at all (2, Interesting)

rusl (1255318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843043)

Well, I do think there are some interesting possibilities in that thing where they interact with the topography using the cut out shapes.

However, I too was thinking about my love of the command line. Basically, as they claim, 2D interface came along in 1984. It basically still has a lot to be worked out to make it useful. I do prefer point and click for many things there the command line options are just too complicating. It's easier to cut and paste 5 random files from one place to another than to find some common search thread between them all or to type it all out... Basically only simple things work well this way.

So the irony is that - it takes a long time to make a GUI useful, it will take longer to make a 3DGUI useful, and we've really only been able to work out the simpler applications (moving files, grouping non-text similar things) so it's like this technology will be only useful for very simple tasks for a long while yet... All the new and advanced stuff is likely to stay only really efficiently done via text commands. So the new fancy GUI will serve up old simple solutions. Probably the making of the complicated fancy GUI will be all accomplished using command line text =)

Re:Not impressive at all (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843165)

simple things like the classic terminal are *increasing* in popularity, if anything. New Linux users and experienced Mac users are saying things like, "actually, I just use the terminal to do such-and-such a task; it's faster that way."

And it's not even just Unix and Unix-like systems where the terminal's popular. Even Microsoft recognise its importance -- that's why they introduced PowerShell as an alternative to Windows' traditionally rubbish CLI.

Re:Not impressive at all (2, Interesting)

- r (136283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843283)

not that i post that much here, but - this is the coolest thing iv/e seen in ages. *not that it applies to us as programmers*, but it does to our users. yes, i use terminal on my imac for programming, but not for seeing the result. i think someone out geeked the geeks here...

Re:Not impressive at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842663)

Hmmm Air traffic control will never be the same if this gets interface gets implemented...

Re:Not impressive at all (1)

Khenke (710763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842785)

Just like a full body sensory feedback system it will be the game and porn industry that will start using it and show the rest of the world the way. Because we really need our hands free for all our porn watching...

Re:Not impressive at all (4, Funny)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843007)

And while your 'free' hand is busy, what the hell is the image going to be doing?

Re:Not impressive at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842907)

It does look cool though, specially the collaboration part.

Don't write them off just yet. Maybe what we are looking at turn out to be next generation of User Interfaces.

With time applications come and get attached to basic platforms. Internet was also a DARPA curiosity used and managed by squints.

Re:Not impressive at all (1)

wfWebber (715881) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842911)

Exactly my thought. Just because it looks cool, doesn't mean it's practical.

Re:Not impressive at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842941)

Gesture recognition and fancy displays reminds me of the VR craze that died a silent and uninteresting death a decade ago...

Unfortunately sometimes what looks cool may not translate into whats useful or wanted by enough people to matter. With millions of WOW addicts and the steady march of technology there is certainly room for a reserrection spell for VRish technologies in our future.

This demo is certainly lame and underwhelming.. not being able to display a useful purpose for your main product demo without resorting to hollywood nonsense (Queue hackers gibson CGI) should raise some red flags regarding viability.

Re:Not impressive at all (4, Insightful)

Xiph (723935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842963)

I claim that this will be great for gaming, i already want to make games for things like this, seeing this video does nothing to remove that.

I also think this expensive toy will be great for things that requires complex data to be handled fast.
That's what gestures are good for, complex objects, needing complex handling, instead of going into a menu->submenu->item, click.
They're nice in the same way as keyboard shortcuts, they reduce strain, but can't be used for everything.

Gestures are great for somethings and really poor for other things.
This system is partly a system for gestures,
partly a system of semantics of the various gestures,
and partly a system for using these things over an arbitrary amount of screens(dig about a bit on the website).

I think that for some uses this will be awesome, for others it won't work. Don't do programming or other text-centric things on this system.
I have no illusion that talking will ever replace typing.
Just like I don't think the Wii will replace me going outside to play soccer with my friends, Or that an OMNIMAX will stop me going to beautiful places.

Call me a luddite but I'll stick with 2D interface (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842463)

I really don't want an interface where I have to gesticulate at a computer, while repeating words so the speech recognition engine picks them up correctly and moving cursors around with my eyeballs. Hell I don't even want 3D desktops and transparent windows - take all the damn effects away, and leave me with the folder metaphor, current UI for editing text and pictures, and a command line. These interfaces don't give me any new capabilities, and anything that requires more effort and doesn't empower the user is a waste of time. They aren't revolutionary - they're not even good sci-fi. They don't belong to the future, because the future will be built on interfaces that are MORE not less convenient and do actually give new capabilities. Good sci fi are things like the star trek communicator (not so different to today's mobile phone, or a walkie talkie of old, and were used to enable the characters).

Re:Call me a luddite but I'll stick with 2D interf (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842599)

Not everyone thought the mouse was a good input at first. This type of UI may have speed advantages as well as visualization advantages we may not completely see yet. CAD comes to mind here. But I suppose ASCII art CAD is enough for some people :)

Re:Call me a luddite but I'll stick with 2D interf (2, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842641)

Not everyone thought the mouse was a good input at first. This type of UI may have speed advantages as well as visualization advantages we may not completely see yet. CAD comes to mind here. But I suppose ASCII art CAD is enough for some people :)

Show me speed advantages (without significant disadvantages in other areas) and I'll be pleased to accept change. In the meantime my office is enough of a nightmare without people gesticulating and yelling at their computers like Italian villagers.

I think speed advantages in CAD are more likely to come from more intuitive tools in the software. Right now doing anything in a CAD/CAM package or 3D Modeller requires specialized training. Whereas I could teach someone to edit (ie. touch up) a photo, or teach them to to use a word processor for something basic.in minutes.

Little Roma -- Noisy office (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842735)

In the meantime my office is enough of a nightmare without people gesticulating and yelling at their computers like Italian villagers.

+1 Funny. I'm only lucky I wasn't drinking anything at the time I read this.

Cheers,

Re:Call me a luddite but I'll stick with 2D interf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25843401)

The mouse was suppose to be used with a 5 key chord keyboard. That allowed you to use the mouse and type without having to move your hands away from the mouse.

I've used the same idea for cad work, and its a big boost to productivity. I use a programmable xkeys keypad with one hand, and mouse with the other. The keypad lets me input numbers and my most used commands. Only needing to use the keyboard to type text, which I really only do once the drawing is complete, and notes need to be added.

I wouldn't want to be holding my hands up all day, that would be silly. I'd rather go back to a drafting board if that was the case.

There are other tools for moving around in 3d space, such as the space ball, if that is what is required.

Re:Call me a luddite but I'll stick with 2D interf (1)

GFree678 (1363845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842675)

Hell I don't even want 3D desktops and transparent windows - take all the damn effects away, and leave me with the folder metaphor, current UI for editing text and pictures, and a command line.

Keep in mind, you're unusual. You WANT a command line for example. Oh, and when I say unusual I mean when compared to those outside of the Slashdot crowd, so no offense. :)

I would suggest that since humans are a very visual-thinking species, there's still a lot that can be improved in the visiual representation of information and the way in which it can be manipulated. The "minority report" interface might be a little impractical perhaps, but it's just one idea out of a group of other ideas for the future of UI. I don't think we should stagnate by keeping current GUIs because they "just work". If they did, people wouldn't keep clicking OK or Close on error messages while not actually paying attention to them for example.

Re:Call me a luddite but I'll stick with 2D interf (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843227)

I would suggest that since humans are a very visual-thinking species...

But even that, right there, can be disputed. There's a reason we abstracted our written records into modern alphabets, syllabaries, and logographs, instead of sticking with the original "visual" pictograms. Text has fought pictures -- and it was text that won.

People have been trying to introduce visual representations of things for decades now. But for example "visual" programming (in the flowchart sense, not the interface design sense) never caught on, except in the niche case of UML, which is only used as support for traditional pages of text. And for all the Jurassic Park-style attempts to give our operating systems "visual" interfaces, it's pretty much still all text -- menus are lists of text, file browsers are lists of text, spreadsheets and databases are grids of text, word processors are pages of text... you know, we seem to be coming back to that T-word over and over again.

Even in cases where pictures are used (pretty much limited to icons on toolbars), a heck of a lot of people find the pictures completely unintuitive, and are totally unable to guess what they mean without being taught; faced with a new toolbar, people resort to hovering over the buttons, waiting for the text to appear; they then learn the picture as a symbol, a modern-day pictograph if you will, and most people are subsequently confused if they ever encounter a different picture, even if it's a different picture of exactly the same concept.

Are we really as visual as all that?

Re:Call me a luddite but I'll stick with 2D interf (2, Interesting)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842773)

I don't forsee this technology being used on personal home computers in the near future.

Where I do anticipate (and look forward to) seeing it is for interactive public displays. It would be a very cool interface to have for a 3d map and directory in a mall or an informative display at a museum or aquarium.

As for home use, it could be used for family gatherings and birthday/wedding parties. Set it up with your DJ software and photos, then let your guests check out photos, pick out music to play, etc.

Most wedding parties, etc have a slideshow going on, why not let your guests upload photos as they take them, add them to the slideshow, maybe browse through them manually, change the background music, etc. It could make for a very entertaining and rewarding device to have for such occasions, even if you just rented them out.

Re:Call me a luddite but I'll stick with 2D interf (1)

patro (104336) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842825)

I really don't want an interface where I have to gesticulate at a computer

Could be a great workout, though. Imagine coding with this interface, Lot's of exercise. No more Mr. Fat Geek.

Re:Call me a luddite but I'll stick with 2D interf (1)

rusl (1255318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843059)

*IF* it can be flexible enough to not give you repetitive strain injuries. Almost all of these "human" UI will give you that because they have to only accept a very limited range of motion in order to be useful. For 15 minutes, no problem but for days and weeks it has to be really flexible and not just packaged as human compatable.

Re:Call me a luddite but I'll stick with 2D interf (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843033)

Hell I don't even want 3D desktops and transparent windows

Translucent windows are a godsend for me. I <3 being able to pack 2->3x more information in the same screen space. I'm rather unimpressed by 3D desktops and effects like the Comipz cube.

cheapscates (2, Funny)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842473)

you mean to say, a startup centering around hi tech advances in visual interfaces.... can't afford to host their own demo? They have to go to the upscale HD version for YouTube to host the content?

Common. Get a real hosting account and a guy that knows how to embed JW to play your flash video.

what the hell for? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842791)

Why would a small startup want to host its own videos when youtube will happily take the strain? The only reasons to do it yourself are a) high-availability, if you can really afford to set that up and really need it b) ego. Since most people don't actually care whether they get a video on youtube or direct from your site, b is mostly irrelevant here.

p.s.: I don't think "common" means what you think it means ;)

Can you say.... gimmick? (2, Insightful)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842487)

Yawn... Another one of these. Why do I feel I read a /. article about "Minority Report interfaces" every week? And it would be interesting if we were talking about pre-cognitive interfaced etc. instead of the useless "do your best traffic officer impression" to move some videos around.
Yeah, IWTFV (didn't actually RTFA that came with it) and I guess it would be kind of cool for people who are not Real Geeks (TM). I especially enjoyed their "intuitive high bandwidth access to information" where they navigate this seemingly enormous 3D grid of what looks like boxes containing... the same japanese character! Yay, what a way to navigate through 2 bytes of info! Ok, maybe it is 1kb if the boxes were not identical, but there is no way to tell at a glance, as people who have tried to use lame 3D file managers would now. That scene also brought back fond cinematic memories... It's a Unix system! I know this!

Untill I can... (1)

awrz (1009247) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842519)

...connect directly to the computer through my brain.

I just won't care.

I don't want to work or stand to get things done on a computer. I want to THINK it to make it happen.

Re:Untill I can... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842751)

Krell. Fabbers.

That's all I've got to say. Check wikipedia if you don't understand this.

Re:Untill I can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25843055)

They will screw that up too. Instead of thinking "I want to write my parent's neghbors and thank them for the christmas gifts they gave to the kids" and having the computer automatically create a document, you will have to think, mouse left, click, open word, letter to parent's neghbors, input Thank's- backup, thanks, not tanks, backup, T-h-a-n-k-s. or something fucked like that.

If I've learned anythign from games... (1)

josteos (455905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842521)

...once SOE gets involved this thing is fucked.

Real Applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842551)

Ok, so other than being purchased by CNN to go along with their magic wall and non-hologram gimmicks, can anyone think of real applications for this?

The one really obvious use I can think of is with human operated control systems- like the control tower at an airport on on an aircraft carrier. This is a place where logical 3D real-time representation of data with collaboration sounds like a pretty important thing. Of course, they would have to train the system to detect and ignore sneezes. I mean cold season leading to sneezing flight controllers leading to mis-directed personnel and aircraft sounds hilarious only so long as I know I'm not going to be there for it.

Being serious again, this does seem to have potential where one or more people have to direct a system like an airport's runways. I imagine it would also make for one killer RTS controller too. Throw in world-domination-command-center while you're at it. I'm being serious about that one, I'm sure our military will buy one of these and fall in love. Whether they'll get past playing around with Google Earth on it is another matter entirely.

The mouse is still better. (4, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842571)

Oblong calls g-speak a 'spatial operating environment' and adds that 'the SOE's combination of gestural i/o, recombinant networking, and real-world pixels brings the first major step in computer interface since 1984.

I'm tired of hearing about all these things that will replace the mouse. The mouse will be replaced one day, but not until something comes out which is better, not merely cooler.

This minority report interface will tire your arms out in less than five minutes. I'm embarrased to admit it, but I use a computer for upwards of eight hours a day. Sometimes upwards of twelve.

The mouse is ideal in that your fingers have precision, the feel of pointing is natural, and crucially your hand, wrist, arm, are all more or less at rest throughout the process. Sure, you move them. But you don't hold them anywhere. It's a fundamentally different type of task from minority reporting, or wii-ing, or other stupid-but-cool flailing systems.

So no, I don't know what will replace the mouse. Something, eventually. If I knew what it was, I'd make a bloody fortune. But improving on the mouse will take a damn shot more work than making me say 'Wow', let alone 'meh'.

Re:The mouse is still better. (1, Insightful)

NfoCipher (161094) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842719)

That's the old fart talking. We've been using a mouse most of our lives, so sure it's better for us. Take a look at the wii, it took me a while to adjust killing zombies by pointing at the screen instead of using my thumb.

If kids growing up use this interface, not only will it be natural to them, they'll be in much better shape.

Re:The mouse is still better. (2, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842815)

That's the old fart talking. We've been using a mouse most of our lives, so sure it's better for us. Take a look at the wii, it took me a while to adjust killing zombies by pointing at the screen instead of using my thumb. If kids growing up use this interface, not only will it be natural to them, they'll be in much better shape.

The wii's controller is unreservedly terrible. The only thing it's good for is amusement. If kids grow up using that interface, I'll be surprised if they can open 'My Documents' by the age of thirteen.

I'm sorry, but waving your arms around and working an office job are just mutually incompatible unless you're a manager.

I look forwards to something bettering the mouse, just as I look forwards to each new technological advance. I don't buy into stuff because it's cool, which is where the kids go wrong. I buy in when something is better.

Re:The mouse is still better. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25843365)

I look forwards to something bettering the mouse, just as I look forwards to each new technological advance. I don't buy into stuff because it's cool, which is where the kids go wrong. I buy in when something is better.

Well, you gotta admit, SimAirportGroundController is gonna be awesome on this thing.

Re:The mouse is still better. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842777)

A good replacement to the now-a-days mouse, would be a ball or airplane-shaft shaped wireless device, which is touch sensitive through most (or all) of its surface. Such a device would allow the user to use it with his/her hand in any position he/she feels comfortable (hanging by the side, on the desk as is today, rested on his/her lap etc), plus it takes advantage of all five fingers.
Now...if a similar replacement to the keyboard, could be done, a lot of IT workers and other heavy-users, would be free of a lot hand aches , related to the current position the arms need to be in order to use a PC

Touchpad better still (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25843151)

I'm tired of hearing about all these things that will replace the mouse. The mouse will be replaced one day, but not until something comes out which is better, not merely cooler.

For me, the mouse has already been replaced by the touchpad on my laptop.

It's way more efficient to use that to constantly move my hand and arm to/from the keyboard.

So touchpad is best, that is, until I master vimperator - and then total domination of the universe will swiftly follow...

Wow! I want one (4, Interesting)

Prikolist (1260608) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842575)

I want one! I will disagree with everyone here saying that it's useless. I'd trade the mouse, and pen tablet, and the joystick, and all the rest of those for this. Looks way more convinient - not to mention instinctive - to use. It's like a touchscreen but you don't have to leave greasy fingerprints all over. With this I could even actually draw on computer, while so far any attempts with mouse just ended up with wrist pain and frustration. And just moving the cursor, moving windows, anything... Oh, and games, this will send Wii to an antique museum.

Re:Wow! I want one (1)

plantman-the-womb-st (776722) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843009)

It's like a touchscreen but you don't have to leave greasy fingerprints all over.

So you want a Light Pen? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wow! I want one (2, Informative)

rusl (1255318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843129)

As an artist myself I've often wanted to draw on the computer too. I've never suceeded. However, I've seen a very skilled person draw on the computer. The way to do it is this: use your right hand to carefully draw with the mouse - keep your left hand on Ctrl+Z. It's a computer so no matter how many times you erase you won't rub through the paper. he was really good with it, albeit his drawing style was somewhat limited - slightly gestural if you know what that means. He would make lots and lots of marks and CtrlZ most of them. But he had a good flow back and forth and the constant motion allowed him to stop being tentative and really express the line through the mouse motions. Also you have to have a good mouse that doesn't stick or act up... obviously. I've never seen anyone with those digipens draw right into the computer like this guy did using CtrlZ.

This is his website. [markpile.com] But I' have no idea what medium he used for any of his drawings there... Suffice it to say I wouldn't be surprised if it was drawn via the mouse. He was that good with it.

Re:Wow! I want one (1)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843567)

It is a Wii for executives. Once the doors close they'll be bowling.

Anyone remember that OCZ mind controller thing? (2, Interesting)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842583)

I see this having huge potential in CAD & design applications. Spatial controllers for CAD I've found to leave much to be desired. Gestures and natural motion are a huge improvement. This paradigm of interface will all hinge on a killer app, sure the engineering has been done and from what I can tell it works, effectively, but there are so many brilliantly engineered ideas that are simply nothing more than that.
Implementing a Good(tm) product, and getting a market for it is a whole different story. I would expect to see this kind of thing first coming to market as a expensive niche product for CAD/VR visualation set ups, or perhaps being bundled with a game that supports it. Many of these new things never get off the ground, not at least until the price/performance ratio reaches a point it becomes compelling.

Anyone remember that direct mind controller thing from OCZ? No? This'll be forgotten too...

Modern UI, I'm all for it (3, Funny)

deodiaus2 (980169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842621)

Besides, I am still having hard time operating this mouse foot petal. It is so damn hard to get the selection of a word with my toes! Next thing you know, they'll design away my CD-RW coffee cup holder! I still miss my D parallel printer, what am I going to do with all the cheap cables I got at the discount bin at BestBuy!

I have used it, and it is impressive (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842657)

It is not just a gimmick - they have worked on the gestural language as well as translation software, and it works well. The glove is a bit of a bummer, but it is just a passive glove with spots the system can read. They already have clients, yes big data sets of SHARED computing environments, something that is being overlooked. But it will be quite some time before we have it on our laptops, probably on our TVs before that. And, yes, it will be a better UI than the mouse or accelerometers or voice for many things. But the future is a mixed environment not one single solutions.

A replacement can't come alone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842671)

Whatever replaces the mouse, it won't come by itself. The mouse became the standard because it simultaneously introduced the gui. Without a gui, the mouse is useless. Without a mouse or some pointing device, the gui is useless.

Re:A replacement can't come alone (1)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843327)

I'm not even sure the mouse will get replaced. I'm thinking it'll evolve into something else. I'd love to see hand gestures, mouse and keyboard all present in a system so I can use the mouse for pointing and clicking (saves my arms getting tired!), the keyboard for typing words and hand gestures for manipulating data or images in a much more versatile way than a mouse can ever hope for.

The number of times I've been trying to do something on a computer and wished I could just reach out and sort something on the screen out manually!

Good demo (1)

haggais (624063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842677)

I particularly liked the way the video demonstrates g-speak's usefulness for those typical home and "office productivity" tasks I so often find myself getting slowed down by:

- Moving letters around on the screen (especially once they start wiggling and shifting away from you, and let's face it: everyone hates it when that starts)
- Rotating squiggles and letter-circles around 3 axes
- Navigating through a 3D array of thousands of identical Chinese characters, housed in little boxes (to be fair, though, this sounds a little like the first task)

Re:Good demo (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842809)

Moving letters around on the screen (especially once they start wiggling and shifting away from you, and let's face it: everyone hates it when that starts)

Dear god yes... it tends to mean someone slipped acid in to my coffee cup at work again. (actually, not kidding on the "again" part - it has happened to me before!)

Misread Title (1)

elthicko (1399175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842693)

Am I the only one that misread the title as oblong g-spot? I thought I'd finally know what to look for. I guess being able to interface with a computer in 3d with my hands would be cool too... for when that day comes when that g-spot article gets posted on slashdot, I'll be able to move it and slide it around in ways I never could with just a mouse.

Obama's G-string? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842717)

Am I the only one who had to take a second look because the title appeared a little like Obama's G-string makes minorities feel alive?

Re:Obama's G-string? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25843473)

Words cannot convey just how retarded you actually are. You've got the world's drool market cornered, my xenophobic little friend.

Uh huh (3, Interesting)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842721)

OK, maybe this is the wave of the future. I will not say it isn't - but that promo didn't sell it. It looked like what they claim to be - based on a Hollywood custom script. I want to see how I would use this in the real world - I'm not going to be standing around and moving those text blocks around, nor did I really see why having that matrix of Asian language characters (I don't know which language - I can't read any of them) in that grid would help someone deal with the massive amount of letters anyway. It seems to me since most of them are based on pen strokes that that the arrangement is - hmm - only made to be visual appealing to westerners (which I am one of).

I had used an SGI CAVE a few years back for a few different things (well, others in the group I worked with wrote the stuff - I played with it simply because it was neat) and I see many similarities. Given that products history I do not see that as a Good Thing for them. In fact they seem to be a good 5-10 years behind the curve - the last time I used one was five years ago and they were already doing all this nice stuff from what I can see.

It was really good for things that were meant to be visual. For instance they had this really neat data set of a human (some convict that donated their body to science) and you could interact with a 3-dimensional representation of them. Their body "displayed" (or rather appeared too) in the center of the CAVE and then you could select (using a wand that the system kept tract of it's position in the room) a "window" and move/drag it around and see just that slice of the body in a high amount of detail. You could lock that and have as many 2-d slices going through the body as you want.

They also had a car wreck that you could do a similar thing - but you watched the "slice" as the wreck happened in real time. They actually crashed a car to get the data.

There were also quite a number of specialized tasks that benefited from it and I still run into some today.

But, other than that we pretty much played quake on it. Why? Well most data doesn't really need that type of visual representation. Our current screens work quite well and you are simply adding overhead for the heck of it. Even for those that the system worked well for they still did OK on a normal screen. A large monitor costs a few thousand, these systems cost a few hundred thousand. Well, you should get the picture there (and knowing that I worked in a govt research lab at the time should tell you why no one cared that it was a few hundred thousand more).

This system has the 3-d input but not the nice 3-d output that the SGI systems had so I can't see it working any better - it is just as specialized hardware intensive and I bet just as expensive. Even if it isn't - is the increased productivity for those specialized application going to be worth the cost? I also bet not.

You will note that even a group that has quite a bit of experience making true Hollywood scenes couldn't come up with better. Perfect for massive data - uh huh - and what did that wonderful things you show of arcs moving around *really* give you? You mean where you put a circle over one of the other circles and it turned yellow?

Is there *any* reason whatsoever that the majority of that could not be accomplished with a mouse and a large LCD? Nope - so why purchase this? At least the pretty much failed SGI stuff had the whole 3-d output to go with it - and trust me, there is no experience in the world like playing quake in a fully 3-d environment that you are freaking standing in the middle of and the virtual gun actually is being held by your hand. But then - how many are going to pay 250k for that?

This type of thing is so 1990's and dot com - ten years ago these guys would have been flush with cash from countless venture capitalist. Heck, their video even screams late 90's and early 00's. As is they better really be able to back up the claims they make to even have a shot at it, let alone be truly successful. I didn't particularly see anything new in there and I'm not terribly impressed by being a consultant for "Minority Report". Nor, given the dissertations I have seen from there, am I terribly impressed at MIT's human interaction labs either. But then that part is blasphemy in a shrinking number of academic circles (many more are seeing it that way too).

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842931)

Chinese character is æ 'shou', means hand. Somewhat apt for a gesture driven interface.

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842953)

Bugger, Slashdot doesn't support Chinese characters? Suppose that's one way to slow the Chinese invasion of the internet down...

Re:Uh huh (4, Informative)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843167)

The g-speak platform is in use today at Fortune 50 companies, government agencies and universities. Application areas include:

        * Financial services
        * Telepresence
        * Network operations centers
        * Logistics and supply chain management
        * Military and intelligence
        * Automotive
        * Natural resource exploration
        * Data mining and analytics
        * Medical imaging
        * High-touch retail
        * Trade shows and theatrical presentations
        * Consumer electronics interfaces

Oblong delivers room-sized and single-user g-speak environments as turnkey products.

A software development kit that runs on both Linux and Mac OS X is available. Applications are source-compatible across both operating systems and can run on ordinary desktop and laptop computers in addition to gesturally-equipped g-speak machines and clusters.

You were saying?

Re:Uh huh (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843481)

Please.

People manage to sell plenty of CAVE [wikipedia.org] systems too.

Mechanical Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25842745)

Anything that requires more mechanical/muscle power than that required for simple keystrokes or mouse movements will never take off.

Minority Report? REALLY??? (1)

ExtraT (704420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842783)

Why would anybody take seriously an interface put forth by a stupid movie like Minority Report? The people that designed that "cool" interface for the film couldn't even grasp the notion of data sharing between terminals 2 meters away: the data is copied between them using a PHYSICAL STORAGE DEVICE.

In short: unimaginative pretentious crap.

You have it exactly backwards (1)

TechnicolourSquirrel (1092811) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842849)

You should have RTFA. The interface in Minority Report is based on Oblong's G-speak, not vice versa. In fact, G-speak has been in development for more than a decade, and the creator of G-speak was the science advisor on the film. so if anybody is "unimaginative" it's the makers of the film, not the makers of this interface.

Re:You have it exactly backwards (1)

ExtraT (704420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843139)

LOL, what you just wrote only reinforces what I said earlier. The interface shown in the film represents the ideal g-speak is seeking to attain - and this ideal is not impressive.

Not from Minority Report (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25842891)

Actually, that idea first appeared in film in Johnny Mnemonic. [youtube.com]

Autodesk put considerable effort into virtual reality in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The hope was that it would make it easier to design 3D objects. It didn't. The fundamental problem is that positioning your hands precisely in free space by eye, not touch, is slow and inaccurate. It looks really cool, but it's like trying to do precision work wearing mittens. Humans are much more precise when they have a surface to work against.

It's not a technology problem.

Good for quite some application realms (1)

DollyTheSheep (576243) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843101)

While I agree with some posters, that these MR inspired interfaces will not replace the mouse/keyboard interfaces we now have, I'm a bit surprised at the level of unimaginativeness here.

These interfaces are definitely interesting for several application realms: CAD/CAM, drug research (remember Jurassic Park?), x-ray crystallography, image manipulation.

From all the Minority Report "based" interfaces seen so far, this is one of the best one, it seems.

Re:Good for quite some application realms (1)

ExtraT (704420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843373)

OK, let's talk about CAD.

CAD are tools for engineers. As such they have some requirements that might be hard to understand to people that think in terms of pure 3D design:

1. Precision - the drawing must be geometrically precise. And I mean REALLY precise
2. The design must conform to certain manufacturing principles. For example, the ways that materials can be machined are limited and as such, not every single form is attaineable in the manufacturing process.
3. the software must, without violating the first two principles, allow for maximum freedom of design.

Unfortunately, fancy interfaces of like this g-speak have NOTHING to do with these three principles. Such interfaces are nice for fancy presentation - essentially showing off.

In short, CAD is a highly specialized tool for highly trained professionals, not a trinket for presentations and customer bullshitting.

You are all out of your minds. (1)

w3bd4wg (938648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843113)

WTF? You guys are all way off base. Use your imagination. Hell even standing while doing computer work would be nice. This isn't here to replace the mouse. Its here to supplement a new interface to a computer. If any of you had any imagination at all you would understand that this opens doors for a lot of different ideas, user interfaces, and general user work. This would make life interactive instead of me sitting on my ass all day and staring into my LCD monitors. It seems to me that it will make complex things simple to people who could never have the will to do it or learn it.

Minority Report (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843257)

I don't quite understand why it is that people seem to roll out "Minority Report" as the ultimate in cool and useful computer interfaces.

First the coolness: the book may or may not be good; I haven't read it, but it is story from 1956, and thus likely to be a long way off the mark anyway. Entertaining? Probably, knowing Philip K. Dick. But, having seen that smarmy git, Tom Cruise, in the movie, totally and utterly turned me off; there are very few actors in the world less convincing. Coolness simply doesn't come anywhere near to it. For coolness give me a direct brain link or something a bit clunky and charming like the voice interface in Star Trek.

Then the usefulness of it; how can it be considered useful that your data is spread out over what seems to be a holographic curtain from floor to ceiling? Where you have to gingerly touch something mysterious and cryptic flickering away in mid-air? Apart from the gorilla arm aspect of it, that is just about as far from useful as you can get; the size and amount of detail (as shown in the movie) makes it impossible to take in and aving to interact by waving your fingers around in thin air requires keen eyesight and good hand-eye coordination, and the lack of tactile feed-back means that you will have to rely on your eyes only, which slows you down. It would be more efficient to use clay-tablets and an abacus.

So please stop rolling out "Minority Report" to describe every innovation in the area of holography; it simply detracts from the significance of the news.

Here we go again (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843279)

I am so sick of these demos. Next people will be showing off a new keyboard interface that lets you play music by wiggling your fingers in thin air... or write a letter by waving a virtual pencil in thin air... or drive your car by pointing in the direction you want to go and yell "vroom!"

People need tactile input and feedback to do anything meaningful. What is so wrong with having to touch a surface? Why not make a small, wireless glove with pressure sensors on the fingers that allows any surface to act like a trackpad? You won't need to lug around a tablet PC around your own home anymore or set up a camera and have all these damn IR lights all over your body (and be sure to stay away from the Christmas tree or even an open window). You could even use the glove interface by rubbing the palm of your other hand.

The only non-mouse, non-trackpad surface that would be useful is some kind of trackball that could be used independently of the pointing device that allows you to rotate 3D objects, as with CAD work. Stop making visual demos of people flailing their arms in front of cameras, and work on more drivers to use the interfaces we already have in more meaningful ways. Why can't I zoom and pan around my Photoshop images by manipulating a joystick mounted to the left of my tablet? Why am I still restricted to all these idiotic Alt-Something key combinations, rather than letting me use some custom analog controls?

The interface of the future is one that I can configure myself.

Not again.... (2, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#25843471)

Search " minority" [slashdot.org]

"Minority Report"-Like Control For PC [slashdot.org]
On November 8th, 2008 with 138 comments
An anonymous reader writes "A startup named Mgestyk Technologies claims that they have an affordable solution for 'Minority Report'-like PC control. They have...

Obscura Digital Demos "Minority Report"-Like Display [slashdot.org]
On August 6th, 2008 with 124 comments
Barence and other readers sent along word of a demonstration by Obscura Digital of a new technology it's dubbed a multi-touch hologram reminiscent of...

Touch Screen Tech Comes of Age [slashdot.org]
On February 3rd, 2008 with 78 comments
pottercw writes "Good summary of today's touch-screen technologies on Computerworld the obvious Apple iPhone and Microsoft Surface, plus projected...

"Interface-Free" Touch Screen at TED [slashdot.org]
On October 30th, 2006 with 194 comments
Down8 writes, "Jeff Han, an NYU researcher, has recently shown off his 'interface free' touch screen technology at the TEDTalks in Monterey. Some sweet...

Correct me, but are all these breathless announcements still vapourware?

I'm getting a bit tired of this bullshit. It was just a stunt, it looked cool but completely impractical. And it's not like "Minority Report" (2002) actually invented the idea, even in the movies. Off the top of my head, same concept was used in "Johnny Mnemonic" (1995), Disclosure (1994), "Hitchhiker's Guide" (1978 (radio version)).

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