First there were PDAs, then cellphones and then the merger of cellphones+PDAs variously known as Smart Mobile devices or Smart Phones. All are related to what was promised a long time ago – Preferred Information At your Fingertips or PIAF devices. Now after several innovative and ersatz tries by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Palm and others, MIT has come up with its solution, Sixth Sense … and like the OLPC-One Laptop Per Child, the ideas around the Sixth Sense device will surely shake and shape the market for mobiles and PIAF devices.
The device is still prenatal or Google Alpha – but the ideas like projection of the touch interface onto any surface are vibrant. They have definitely been seen in other research quarters but here see amazing resilience and intuitive appeal. Watch for Sixth Sense either to emerge itself or to spur the sincerest form of flattery, imitation by competitors within the next 18 months or less.
But of even more consequence for the image and design arenas is the effect this device+software will have in design, layout and delivery. I can see images, templates, and design co-ordinates being offered as part of the grid surface that users will work on. Also I can see 3D transcription of surfaces so that users can not just take a 2D photo but a 3D surface filtered for the salient points and features that a designer wants to emulate and/or refine. I am wondering if the powerhouses of graphics – Adobe, Autodesk, Avid, etc will even be able to cope with these ideas – or is there a huge entrepreneurial opportunity here?