Minority Report Technology Has Arrived

Written by on February 20, 2013 in Technology - No comments | Print this page

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Minority Report TechnologyIf you have seen the film Minority Report, you will no doubt recall the scenes showing Tom Cruise standing before an impressive bank of computer screens and manipulating them by hand gestures.

The film was released in 2002 but set in 2054 and at the time the technology featured seemed hopelessly futuristic and wholly the stuff of science fiction. Just a decade later, however, the future appears to have arrived.

Spielberg

Minority Report’s Director Steven Spielberg had been keen to create a believable reality for the year 2054 when making the film. As early as 1999 he started consulting with experts and established a three day think tank to discuss the possibilities.

Spielberg wanted all of the technological marvels in the film to be applications which would one day become reality and so all of the features in the movie were based on concepts which were already under development, including the amazing gesture controlled 3D screens.

It should not, then, be too much of a surprise that the world of Minority Report should turn out to be a reality one day but quite startling that this happened as early as 2010.

Microsoft Kinect

In 2010 Microsoft introduced the Kinect motion sensing camera as an extra for its game console Xbox 360. The system enables gameplay to be controlled by the user’s body movements, facial gestures and voice through 3D tracking. Indeed the system can track two players for gameplay and see as many others as can fit into the device’s field of vision.

Leap Motion

Kinect has started a gameplay revolution but that has now been followed by the development of 3D motion sensing technology with broader applications. Many organisations are working on sensor systems that will one day totally change the way we interact with our world.

Leap Motion have already released Leap, an awe inspiring add-on for any PC or laptop which facilitates gesture motion control to an accuracy of a fraction of a millimetre. Leap can distinguish between and interpret the movement of all ten fingers of the operative and can even tell the difference between human digits and other implements like pens.

With the system already available for just $70 this technology and similar systems should soon be the way we all control our computers.

Applications

Controlling PC’s with gesture motion is just the tip of a very large iceberg. The applications for the technology are limitless and some are already being used to great effect.

Whilst the future advantages of such systems to medical science and robotics are obvious there are some more everyday applications which are already changing the way we conduct our lives. Fashion retailers including Hugo Boss and Superdry are maximising the ease of online shopping by using virtual changing rooms.

These marvels utilise 3D sensors to map the bodies of consumers and then overlay items of clothing to illustrate how well they will fit. More advanced systems are being developed which will enable the creation of avatars to try on clothes for the consumer who will be able to judge not only if the clothes fit them but if they suit them as well!

The Future

Who knows what startling developments will come next. It would appear that that the way we shop has already changed forever and the possibility of robots which can be programmed to mimic human movement and react to our gestures is a very real one.

The challenge for us all will be to adapt to the rapid developments that lie ahead, after all… who would have thought that one day we would have wrist watches which would not only tell the time, but carry cameras, compasses and many other gadgets… just like James Bond in the 1960’s!

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Sally Stacey is a blogger who is fascinated by technology and time saving. Read more on Sally’s Google+ page.

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