Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Mind-Bending New World Of Work

Motion-capture going mainstream ...

"Motion-capture technology has burst out of Hollywood and into businesses from aerospace to advertising.

In a darkened loft in the industrial district of downtown Los Angeles, Gesture Studios CEO Kevin Parent slips on a pair of black gloves studded with iridescent white, purple, and yellow dots. Standing about 10 feet from a wall-size screen, he lifts his hands like a conductor. With a series of precise gestures, he calls up photos and videos of urban Los Angeles. Raising his thumbs and pointing his index fingers toward the screen as if miming a cowboy with two guns, he swiftly sorts the images, zooming in on certain buildings and playing snips of films depicting various street scenes. To pause the film, he extends one hand like a traffic cop. With other crisp movements, he can spin 3D objects in space or snatch a bullet point of text and drag it across the screen. "You just put on the gloves and go," Parent explains. "Think turbo PowerPoint."

The technology preview Parent arranged for BusinessWeek bears an eerie resemblance to a famous scene in Minority Report, Steven Spielberg's 2002 film featuring Tom Cruise as a cop under investigation for murder. Techies still talk about the wireless data gloves and clipped hand signals Cruise uses to sort through evidence on a giant screen at police headquarters. That interface is just what Gesture is selling to companies that create presentations at the 14,000 trade shows and conferences in the U.S. each year. The hardware and software will be priced from a few thousand dollars and up. Soon, anyone making a PowerPoint presentation to colleagues or business partners could operate the same setup, which uses cameras to track hand movements and translate them into computer instructions. The similarities to Minority Report are no coincidence: Gesture Studios is the brainchild of Massachusetts Institute of Technology wunderkind John UnderKoffler, who helped Spielberg's production team design the scene in the movie."    (Continued via Business Week)    [Usability Resources]

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