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And this is another moment for which we are proud to be an Indian. Indians are generally perceived by Americans in the world of Information Technology, as a community that would love to work for peanuts and lacks innovation. But Pranav Mistry, a 28-year-old indian and a MIT researcher has broken this myth as he is one of the main persons behind the innovation of the year 2009 (as awarded by Popular Science). He is also awarded as one of the young innovators under 35 for the year 2009, by the prestigious Technology Review sponsored by MIT.
This innovative device is named as SixthSense and also called as Wear your World (WyW) by geeks. This aims to create a seamless interface between information and reality. Already this is hailed as yet another giant leap for mankind.
Pranav Mistry, hails from Palanpur, Gujarat. He finished his schooling at Vividhlaxmi Vidyamandir in Palanpur and engineering degree in Gujarat University. IIT, Bombay moulded him further before joins MIT. Now he is a researsch student in MIT, Massachusetts. He has also taken internship at Microsoft. “My parents were a big influence,” says Pranav. His father, Kirti Mistry, is an architect.
This is the brief given about SixthSense in pranav’s website :
We’ve evolved over millions of years to sense the world around us. When we encounter something, someone or some place, we use our five natural senses to perceive information about it; that information helps us make decisions and chose the right actions to take. But arguably the most useful information that can help us make the right decision is not naturally perceivable with our five senses, namely the data, information and knowledge that mankind has accumulated about everything and which is increasingly all available online. Although the miniaturization of computing devices allows us to carry computers in our pockets, keeping us continually connected to the digital world, there is no link between our digital devices and our interactions with the physical world. Information is confined traditionally on paper or digitally on a screen. SixthSense bridges this gap, bringing intangible, digital information out into the tangible world, and allowing us to interact with this information via natural hand gestures. ‘SixthSense’ frees information from its confines by seamlessly integrating it with reality, and thus making the entire world your computer.
SixthSense’ is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.
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. The software program processes the video stream data captured by the camera and tracks the locations of the colored markers (visual tracking fiducials) at the tip of the user’s fingers using simple computer-vision techniques. The movements and arrangements of these fiducials are interpreted into gestures that act as interaction instructions for the projected application interfaces. The maximum number of tracked fingers is only constrained by the number of unique fiducials, thus SixthSense also supports multi-touch and multi-user interaction.
The current prototype of sixthSense costs approximate $350 to build and pranav believes commercial version would definitely cost less.
Some previous projects from Mistry’s work at MIT includes intelligent sticky notes, Quickies, that can be searched and can send reminders; a pen that draws in 3D; and TaPuMa, a tangible public map that can act as Google of physical world. His research interests also include Gestural and Tangible Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, Artifiical Intelligence, Machine Vision, Collective Intelligence and Robotics.
And ultimately, his intention to share his technical knowledge on SixthSense to one and all is another feather in this genius’s cap. He doesn’t want to make money out this innovation. Pranav says “People will be able to make their own hardware. I will give them instructions how to make it. And also provide them key software…give them basic key software layers. . . they will be able to build their own applications. They will be able to modify base level and do anything”. In other words SixthSense is going to be open source very soon according to Pravnav Mistry.
How this device could be used day to day life? Pranav has the answer. Imagine being able to check your email on any blank wall, simply by drawing an @ sign in the air with your finger, or being able to check the time by using that same finger to draw a circle, which produces the image of an analog watch right on your wrist.
You want to take a digital photograph? Just put your thumbs and forefingers together to make a picture frame
Better yet, imagine a system that can display the reason for your flight delay directly on the boarding pass you are holding in your hand.
Do you sway ?
Now let’s see what Pranav wants to say about this amazing device.