Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate and TED fellow Jinha Lee revealed at this week’s TED conference in Long Beach, California a transparent computer that allows users to reach inside and actually handle the digital content displayed. Pretty amazing, right?
Working in collaboration with Microsoft to create and develop the forward thinking desktop Lee believes the new concept could make computing much more accessible to us mere mortals.
The SpaceTop 3D consists of a transparent LED display with built in cameras which track the user’s gestures and eye movements, moving the projection accordingly; but for tasks that demand a bit more precision there is also a touchpad. It covers all bases this little gem!
"Spatial memory, where the body intuitively remembers where things are, is a very human skill," he said, "If you are working on a document you can pick it up and flip through it like a book. The gap between what the designer thinks and what the computer can do is huge. If you can put your hands inside the computer and handle digital content you can express ideas more completely," he said.
"Human hands and fingers are good at feeling texture and detail, and good at gripping things - neither of which touch interfaces take advantage of. The real future of interfaces will take advantage of our natural abilities to tell the difference between textures, to use our hands to do things without looking at them."
Mr Lee revealed some of the other concepts he is currently working on at the moment; including ZeroN; a floating ball which can literally be placed in mid-air, using electromagnetism to stay afloat: "It could be used in schools," said Mr Lee. "If kids are learning about planetary movement they can pick up a model of a planet and place it in orbit. That is tangible and makes the learning experience so much more powerful."
He is also working on an augmented reality shopping app which when combined with a virtual reality headset would allow users to actually try items on.
All of these designs are still in their very early, conceptual stages. Despite this the South Korean developer and designer is clearly positive about their future:
"I don't want to look back on my life and find that I have just been typing on a keyboard. It is one of our key human skills to be able to interact with 3D spaces and I wanted to let people do the same with digital content."
This guy is sporting some seriously innovative qualities and might have just given us a glimpse of our technological future.
"With the first computers there was a huge gap but that gap is getting smaller with things such as touchscreens," he said, "The only boundary left is our imagination."
How very deep ;).