Unveiling game-changing wearable tech | Pattie Maes | Summary and Q&A

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March 10, 2009
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TED
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Unveiling game-changing wearable tech | Pattie Maes

TL;DR

A researcher unveils a wearable device that allows users to access and interact with relevant information projected on any surface using natural gestures, providing a "sixth sense" for decision-making.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does the wearable device track hand gestures and interact with projected information?

The wearable device uses a camera to track four significant fingers and recognize gestures made by the user. The projected information can be interacted with by using natural gestures, such as zooming in and out on a map or taking pictures.

Q: What are some applications of the device in everyday scenarios?

The device can be used for various purposes, such as helping users make ecologically responsible purchases, providing Amazon ratings and additional information about books, updating newspaper articles with video annotations, and showing word clouds of tags associated with people.

Q: Is the device portable and cost-effective?

Yes, the wearable device is completely portable and can be worn anywhere. The researcher mentions that in mass production, the device would not cost more than today's cell phones and could look more stylish.

Q: How does the device provide access to relevant information about products?

The device uses image recognition or marker technology to recognize the product a user is picking up, and then provides feedback through a green or orange light. Users can also ask for additional information based on their personal criteria.

Q: Can the device provide real-time information updates?

Yes, the device can provide real-time updates such as flight delays and gate changes when users interact with their boarding passes. Additionally, when reading the newspaper, users can access video annotations and the latest sports scores.

Q: How does the device interact with people?

The device can display a word cloud of tags associated with a person, providing information about their interests based on their blog and personal web pages. This can be useful for networking and getting to know people better.

The wearable device also allows users to draw a watch on their arm to quickly find out the current time. This feature provides a simple and convenient way to access time information without needing to check a clock or phone.

Q: How does the wearable device track hand gestures and interact with projected information?

The wearable device uses a camera to track four significant fingers and recognize gestures made by the user. The projected information can be interacted with by using natural gestures, such as zooming in and out on a map or taking pictures.

Summary

This talk discusses the idea of developing a sixth sense that would provide us with seamless access to relevant information in order to make optimal decisions. The speaker introduces a wearable device that allows users to interact with projected information using natural gestures. The device is portable and can be used on any surface. It can recognize products, provide ratings and additional information, annotate books, display video annotations in newspapers, show word clouds associated with individuals, and even provide real-time flight updates. While the device is still a work in progress, it has the potential to revolutionize the way we access and utilize information.

Questions & Answers

Q: How does the speaker describe the current availability of relevant information?

The speaker argues that we don't have easy access to relevant information that can help us make optimal decisions in various situations. Despite the existence of cell phones, we don't usually take them out and start searching for information during face-to-face interactions or when making purchasing decisions in a supermarket.

Q: What is the speaker's research group at the Media Lab working on?

The speaker's research group has been developing inventions to provide easy access to relevant information without requiring users to change their behavior. They have created a wearable device consisting of a webcam, projection system, and a cell phone as the communication and computation device.

Q: How does the device allow users to interact with information?

The device tracks the four significant fingers using marker caps or painted nails. It recognizes gestures made by the user, allowing them to interact with projected information on any surface. For example, users can zoom in and out on a map, take pictures, sort and organize images, and use natural gestures to navigate through data.

Q: What is the difference between this device and other interactive systems?

While other interactive systems like the Microsoft Surface Table also use natural gestures, this device has the advantage of being portable and usable on any surface. Users can walk up to any surface, including their own hand if necessary, to interact with the projected data.

Q: What are some potential applications of the device?

The device can provide real-time information and ratings about products while shopping. It can display ratings and additional information about books, including reader comments and expert critiques. It can even display video annotations and real-time sports scores while reading newspapers. Additionally, it can show word clouds associated with individuals and give real-time flight updates on boarding passes.

Q: What are some limitations of the current version of the device?

The speaker acknowledges that the device is still a work in progress and not yet perfect. While it is a significant achievement, there is room for improvement and further development. The speaker also mentions the possibility of a future ultimate sixth sense brain implant.

Q: Who is the genius behind the development of this device?

The speaker highlights his student, Pranav Mistry, as the genius who has been designing and implementing the system. Pranav's dedication and hard work have been crucial to the device's development.

Q: How does the speaker envision the device's mass production?

The speaker believes that, in mass production, the device would not cost more than today's cell phones and could be even more stylish and compact. The goal is to make the device accessible and appealing to a wide range of users.

Q: How does the speaker summarize the significance of the device?

The speaker emphasizes that this device has the potential to act as a sixth-sense device, providing users with relevant information about whatever is in front of them. By seamlessly accessing this information, users can make better decisions and navigate the world more effectively.

Q: What does the speaker express about the future of this technology?

Although the current device is not perfect, the speaker hints at the possibility of an ultimate sixth sense brain implant in the future. This suggests that the development of this technology is ongoing, and there may be even more advanced iterations to come.

Takeaways

This talk introduces a wearable device that aims to provide users with seamless access to relevant information. By using natural gestures, users can interact with projected data on any surface, enabling them to make optimal decisions in various situations. The device has the potential to revolutionize the way we access and utilize information, making it accessible, mobile, and stylish. While the current version described in the talk is a work in progress, the speaker hints at a future where this technology could be even more advanced.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The researcher and his team have developed a wearable device that allows users to access relevant information in a seamless and easy way.

  • The device uses a camera, projection system, and cell phone to track hand gestures and interact with projected information on any surface.

  • Users can use the device to make optimal decisions in various scenarios, such as shopping, reading, and interacting with people, among others.

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