Mental Floss

Minority Report Computing is Real

Chris Higgins

Remember the computer in Minority Report, the one which Tom Cruise manipulated by tossing objects around on a virtual screen? Well, apparently that computer is real. John Underkoffler was involved in designing that computer system and the gestural language used to communicate with it, and has been working on related research for quite a while. In a recent TED Talk, he showed demos of actual, current, working computer systems that do the Minority Report stuff -- and he does it onstage in front of an audience.

Now, the technology isn't perfect. There's a crash at one point, and sometimes the manipulation of objects isn't 100% fluid. But Underkoffler makes a huge point in his demo by just, well, using the systems. He doesn't stop to tell us how amazing it all is, he just kinda does it. At the end he suggests a timeframe (with a wry smile) for when we should "expect" to see such technology available to the masses. We'll see. Take a look (the craziness starts around 5 minutes in):