Thinking Differently about the Virtual/Natural World Intersection (TED Talk by Pranav Mistry)

As good as most of them are it’s a rare TED video that makes you want to stand and applaud with the crowd even though you’re only streaming a recording of a past event. But this TED Talk by Pranav Mistry has some truly jaw-dropping stuff, particularly for those who haven’t much considered the extent to which we could be interfacing our digital world our the natural one. Some of this looks like genuine science fiction. Haven’t heard of him? I hadn’t either. “Pranav Mistry is a PhD student in the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT’s Media Lab. Before his studies at MIT, he worked with Microsoft as a UX researcher; he’s a graduate of IIT. Mistry is passionate about integrating the digital informational experience with our real-world interactions.” He is also the inventor of SixthSense.

‘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. By using a camera and a tiny projector mounted in a pendant like wearable device, ‘SixthSense’ sees what you see and visually augments any surfaces or objects we are interacting with. It projects information onto surfaces, walls, and physical objects around us, and lets us interact with the projected information through natural hand gestures, arm movements, or our interaction with the object itself. ‘SixthSense’ attempts to free information from its confines by seamlessly integrating it with reality, and thus making the entire world your computer.

Yeah. Just wait ’till you see the video.

This TED Talk is from Ted India and is part of TED’s “Under 30” series, which includes people like Eva Vertes, who I’ve previously mentioned as part of my encouragement to Think Differently. Pranav Mistry is another great example of someone who is thinking differently, asking questions and attempting to answer them. This is where true innovation is found.