The technology was built by Elliptic Labs and tracks a user’s hands movements using ultrasound. The Minority Report-like technology (scene pictured) was unveiled at MWC at Barcelona.
I was watching a science fiction movie not long ago. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was set well into the future and had a number of cool concepts. It was set in the future, but appeared to have been written recently.
With the passing of Leonard Nimoy, I often think about some of the technologies that were used in those Star Trek movies and TV shows and how science fiction concepts often became reality and how the show influenced the future. When I got my first Palm computer, one of the first apps was a Star Trek Beamer (coincidentally the nickname of one of Casio’s first touch screen computers (which I still have one of and it still works! When upgraded my ZX81 with a 64k RAM Pack to a Sinclair Spectrum, my two favorite programs were Vu Calc (which became my first CRM) and a Star Trek Game. I was able to upload the apps into RAM instead of coding them.
The communications and technology concepts on Star Trek weren’t too far from accurate predictions of the future, some of them, like teleportation haven’t truly eventuated yet although very serious R&D has been underway for several years.
Star Trek came towards the end of an amazing era of very intelligent Science Fiction Writers, many of whom had science, aeronautics, engineering, aviation and military backgrounds and were able to foresee what probably would happen in technology. These were the heyday of writers such as Robert Heinlein, Arthur C Clarke, Philip K Dick, Isaac Asimov to name just a small number. They looked at not just the technology, but also the value proposition, politics and the impact on society. I suspect that they gave not only a lot of the vision to technology developers and foresight practitioners, but also people in the military, in Government and corporations who create products like Elliptic Labs, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Samsung, Apple, TomTom, Tesla, Mercedes and BMW.
So back to this recent ‘visionary’ movie which portrayed America in 20 or 30 years from today. One glaring failure for me was that their vision of mobile phone communications in say 2040 was a stretched iPhone! What a load of crock! If you think in 2040 we will be picking up a mobile smartphone to make a call in 2040, you are sadly mistaken. I have some ideas which I will share in future blogs, but I can tell you that the likelihood that you will pick up a device (outside of a museum) that looks remotely like the very latest of devices we use today, you are very mistaken.
These technologies evolve and we can’t go straight from one concept to the next, because the average person can’t cross that chasm and the industries can’t volume manufacture even their latest designs because they can’t survive on the scratchings of early adopters. Google Glasses is a great example of that as is driverless cars. Both are technologies and concepts that will become mainstream as a transition to next steps, but even though we get them, we don’t yet have an appetite to consume them.
How do you think you will communicate with your family, friends, clients, work in 20 years time? I note predictions are that the landline POTS phone with it’s twisted pairs of copper cable has less than a decade before it is gone in most developed countries. What do you think? Do you see yourself using gestures to communicate with your phone, perhaps where it is mounted in your car?