Cool Item of the Day: Oblong (Think ‘Minority Report’)

From the Friday Futurist Department, TechCrunch has an in-depth look at Oblong’s Mezzanine, a revolutionary new graphical user interface.

When futuristic technologies are referenced, the movie “Minority Report” is often invoked. Though it usually refers to personalized ads (the scene where highly personalized ads pester people in public places), this is more about the crazy computer interface featured in the movie.

This not only draws from Hollywood but also builds on technologies launched since “Minority Report” came out, such as biometric interfaces in the Nintendo Wii (wiimote) and Microsoft Kinnect. These provide consumer awareness/comfort in addition to technical underpinnings.

But not to paint Mezzanine as derivative, the founders were actually technical advisors on the movie. Now they’re bringing it to real life and they have a prototype. It still has a ways to finding real life or commercial applications, but they’re releasing an SDK for developers to iterate on.

The first thing that comes to mind is collaborative projects in creative fields, engineering, or (close to home for us) market research and forecasting. It’s also close to home in that it could bring together virtual or far-flung teams in ways that videoconferencing has promised to do (but hasn’t).

Many of us at BIA/Kelsey are in this bucket, and the world is increasingly gravitating toward virtual teams as technology enables it. Meanwhile, we can start to see how the mouse and icon based interface that’s served us for decades will give way to the GUI that’ll see us into the next many.

“Minority Report,” for real. See TechCrunch for all the details and some video action.

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