Here’s a quick post, about a talk I gave this week – but as an excuse to link to a much more compelling presentation given at the TED Talks recently. Yesterday I had the good fortune to deliver the “Technology Keynote” address at the annual International Field Directors and Technology Conference, in Delray Beach, Florida. The IFD&TC is a well-known group in its field – no pun – of the world’s leading academic and government researchers, conducting large-scale and longitudinal social-scientific research studies.
As an example, think of the U.S. Census – and indeed I had the opportunity to spend some time with Cheryl Landman, Chief of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Demographic Surveys Division. You know those large studies drawn from every decade’s data? She runs them. That division’s work should feature prominently (I hope) in the forthcoming U.S. government’s “Data.gov” set of services.
My talk was titled “Instrumenting the World” (you can view or download the slides here on Skydrive), and I spoke about how the worlds of research and observational social sciences are changing with new technologies providing immersive and high-volume data at web-scale.
A perceptive questioner during the Q&A was Tim Gabel, VP of the Survey and Computing Sciences unit at RTI in Research Triangle Park, which is prominent in the world of government and private-sector research. Tim asked whether we were approaching the science-fiction capabilities that Tom Cruise used in the movie Minority Report. As I’ve done before, I cited individual capabilities that we in Microsoft Research and other groups have done, like Surface multitouch computing, and Photosynth, and I showed a quick video of the “Touchless” fingers-in-the-air computing I wrote about last year.
This morning, I saw something that combines many of those same capabilities in a working prototype of a very compelling augemented-reality approach called “Sixth Sense” developed at MIT Media Lab’s “Fluid Interfaces Group” and demonstrated several weeks ago at the TED Conference. In the words of the TED site’s description, “This demo from Pattie Maes’ lab at MIT, spearheaded by Pranav Mistry, was the buzz of TED. It’s a wearable device with a projector that paves the way for profound interaction with our environment. Imagine Minority Report and then some.” In her talk, Pattie Maes even mentions Microsoft’s pioneering work with Surface.
I think you’ll get a kick out of this video – and according to CTOvision’s Bob Gourley, who’s been using Twitter on the scene, my friend Gen. John Custer wowed the audience with this video during his address to the DoD Intelligence Information Systems (DoDIIS) conference just this morning in Orlando. Enjoy!
Filed under: Government, innovation, Intelligence, Microsoft, R&D, Society, Technology Tagged: | 3D, augemented reality, Census, Census Bureau, computer science, computers, cool, data, Data.gov, gov20, IFDTC, immersion, Media Lab, Microsoft, Minority Report, MIT, MSR, Patti Maes, R&D, research, tech, Technology, Tom Cruise, video, virtual reality