The movie, “Minority Report” gave the world its first glimpse at interactive gesture-based computing, as imagined 54 years in the future. Based on “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” by legendary science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, the movie creates a future where crimes are predicted before they happen, using an incredibly-advanced computer system. The interactivity of the computer is controlled by a special set of gloves and allows the user to manipulate, organize and visualize data in three dimensions. In the year 2000, it seemed like that type of technology was well beyond our reach. Cell phones were only just getting color screens and cameras were still add-ons. There was no iPhone, no iPad and operating systems were still somewhat primitive, visually speaking. Only twelve years later, technology has surpassed “Minority Report.”
Leap, a startup that formed in 2010, has introduced the world the to Motion and it’s clear that the future is now. The Motion is a small USB device that is not much larger than a thumb drive that will allow a user to interact over various computing platforms in three dimensions. The motions that we’re used to, with the iPhone and other touchscreen devices, can be used in three dimensions. Pinch to zoom… use an index finger to scroll… rotate. It’s everything from the “Minority Report” and more. The fine level of control is more akin to that seen in 2010’s “Iron Man 2.”
At first, the device will only be compatible with Windows and OSX, but the developers plan to make it accessible to other platforms in the future. They’re making the programming open, so that anyone can develop and write applications for the device, although it’s shown in the video using existing programs and games. Unlike the Microsoft Kinect, which was outdated the moment it was released, the Motion can track motion at 100 times greater accuracy, 0.01mm to be exact. In the world of industrial design, the device could be used to draw, modify, and visualize 3D models. In the world of medicine, it could help to advance the use of 3D imaging and with the right integration, computer controlled surgery. A surgeon, assisted by robotic tools, could operate in spaces never fathomed before, as if his hands were actually inside the body of a patient. Architecturally speaking, building and information-wise, it will be possible to visualize and view date sets that, before, would be mind boggling on paper. The possibilities are endless.