I think it’s about time to leave the table-top to coffee spills and action movie fight scenes. Why? Because who needs to interact with a table-top multi-touch surface when you can interact with any surface… anywhere.

Pranav Mistry has his own idea on what it means to fully utilize your environment and all the objects within it. He’s taken a lot of common devices, a dash of augmented reality and slapped it all into a device you wear around your neck. In this recent TED talk he shows you what the possibilities are.

The SixthSense

Pranav calls the device The SixthSense. Close your eyes and imagine what that is. Now, stop looking as if you’re sleeping and read what it is.

“The SixthSense prototype is comprised of a pocket projector, a mirror and a camera. The hardware components are coupled in a pendant like mobile wearable device. Both the projector and the camera are connected to the mobile computing device in the user’s pocket. The projector projects visual information enabling surfaces, walls and physical objects around us to be used as interfaces; while the camera recognizes and tracks user’s hand gestures and physical objects using computer-vision based techniques.”Pranav Mistry

Last March, Pranav’s idea of a wearable reality device was introduced at TED, but earlier this month Pranav gave his own presentation in Mysore, India. You’ll find some 3-dimensional thought around 3:05 (another of his projects called ‘inktuitive’) and it starts getting really interesting around 5:25.

The Smack on Product Development

Is it hard to imagine what a device like this could do for product development or it could change how we interact with a design UI? Not really. This is basically removing a dependency on a monitor and typical input devices. But even more, it’s adding the idea of interacting with material and geometry in any environment, while exploring the possibility of more relevant, even adaptive, feedback.

Take this past a few iterations and you could imagine it being more than a EMF-emitting, battery sucker hanging atop your heart case. The idea of simply adding projection and infrared interactivity to regular mobile devices isn’t unlikely at all. Neither is it unlikely that this could all be embedded… into you, one day. Augmenting your reality and your senses though? That may be a bit more that some would ever want.

Still, it’s an interesting look at how UI’s are getting away from the boring old table-top and perhaps, eventually, any flat surface.

You can find out more about the SixthSense Pranav’s website


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.