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This looks so awesome I am afraid I am falling for an elaborate hoax:

Please be real.

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80 replies
  1. 1
    wmd says:

    It’s real. A little behind schedule, they hoped to get it out before Christmas., looks like end of February now.

  2. 2
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    It’s only a hoax for those who have failing small-motor function. You know, the ones who have a hard time playing golf on Wii?

  3. 3
    flimflam says:

    Dagnabbit, youtube is blocked at my office, but I’m dying to know what is so cool! C’mon, what is it? :)

  4. 4
    jibeaux says:

    It seems plausible & very cool, but I can’t find anything on the website about what hardware it works with. An awful lot of “pre-order” enticements. Also too, when cutting edge technology makes it possible for grown men to fake shoot things with their finger pistols like a three year old, there is something funny about that.

  5. 5
    Steve says:

    I can’t believe the guy screwed up that last Angry Birds level.

  6. 6
    guachi says:

    I have a mouse. unlike waving my arms around, it’s more precise and my arms won’t get tired. this isn’t cool and it doesn’t look really useful.

  7. 7
    different-church-lady says:

    Food. Water. Shelter.

    “What we want / and what we need / has been confused / been confused”

    Sorry, but I’ve had two straight years of financial calamity and I need a new roof and two root canals. Apparently FSM has decided my fate is to be a killjoy perspective-giver.

    That being said, yeah, I still want one.

  8. 8
    Keith says:

    @flimflam: It looks like a card-deck-sized Kinect.

  9. 9
    Punchy says:

    Hey John, when and if you ever get hitched, are we all invited? Kinda wanna see what DubV looks like. Like that yearly DKos get together thing, but minus the tears and bitching and Greenwald symposiums…

  10. 10

    Didn’t they have this in that movie “Minority Report” except they had to wear a glove thingie?

    Speaking of movies and tech, a while back I saw that movie where Demi Moore and Michael Douglas work for a tech company, can’t remember the name of it, but they were working on some hilarious virtual reality project. And wow, so funny to see what people thought would be cool tech-wise back in the 90s. There was a virtual library that was like a real library with virtual filing cabinets you had to pull out and finger through the files. Who wants that? If that’s what you have to do to find a file I’ll just keep a real filing cabinet. It was crazy.

  11. 11
    Walker says:

    The real question about this is the precision. The Kinect is a cool little toy, but the precision issues keep it from being used more.

  12. 12
    Maude says:

    @Southern Beale:
    Harry Potter always confused me. Email is faster than owls.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    Let’s see… No latency, orders of magnitude improved precision over current systems, perfectly synced video with hand position and velocity, low price, SDK. Hmm.

  14. 14
    Francis says:

    @Southern Beale: Rising Sun?

  15. 15
    dr. bloor says:

    @guachi: I’m thinking “useful” is going to be well down the list of priorities for prospective buyers.

  16. 16
    Arm The Homeless says:

    Bah! Where’s my ubiquitous flying car?

    Am I still too young to tell you to get off my lawn?

  17. 17
    dollared says:

    This is just a Kinect mouse. There are much cooler applications for this technology. Surgery, anyone?

  18. 18
    Suzanne says:

    @Southern Beale: Disclosure.

    @different-church-lady:

    “What we want / and what we need / has been confused / been confused”

    A fabulous start to one of my favorite albums.

    This is why I love this blog, doo-dahhhhhh…..

  19. 19
    Arm The Homeless says:

    Is anyone else having issues with the site sometimes going into mobile mode while other times defaulting to the full version?

  20. 20
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    I have something similar to that on my desk right now, I’m even reading this here website on it. It’s called a touchscreen.

  21. 21
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    Bah! Where’s my ubiquitous flying car?

    Yeah, we were promised them.

  22. 22
    Mandalay says:

    @Walker:

    The real question about this is the precision. The Kinect is a cool little toy, but the precision issues keep it from being used more.

    Hardly. From their web site:

    The Leap Motion controller is 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market — at any price point. At just about the size of a flash drive, it can track your individual finger movements to 1/100th of a millimeter.

    https://leapmotion.com/product

    How precise do you want it?

  23. 23
    Humble Lurker says:

    Yeah, seriously looks cool, but so does other motion capture thingies like the wii. Then when you use it, you see how imprecise they can be. Especially for some one with so little motor control. Like me.

  24. 24
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @Ben Cisco: I sure hope our flying cars aren’t going to run on Lotus.

  25. 25
    Jim Kakalios says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    Writers of science fiction pulps and comics thought we’d have a revolution in energy, necessary for flying cars and jet packs, when what we got instead was a revolution in information. This information revolution was enabled by solid state and semiconductor physics which in turn was made possible by the development of quantum mechanics.

    Interesting historical coincidence. The first science fiction pulp magazine, Hugo Gernsbeck’s AMAZING STORIES began publication cover date April 1926. Also publishing at the beginning of 1926? Erwin Schroedinger, publishing the equation that is now named after him, which is one of the foundations of modern quantum physics. So, two visions of the future begin at nearly the exact moment in time – one leads to death rays and the other to lasers.

    Your Friendly Neighborhood Physics Professor,

    Jim Kakalios

  26. 26
    Calming Influence says:

    The most important but frequently overlooked aspect of this technology is that when the nutcases driven to mindless violence by Grand Theft Auto attempt to kill hundreds of people, they’ll do it by pointing their finger at them.

  27. 27
    E. says:

    I want one too. However, we should also calculate the social/environmental cost of each new doodad. There was a great NYT article yesterday about the Foxconn factory that gave its employee a new chair with a firm back to sit in while she toils away making me a new cell phone. She heard that others in the company may have even gotten a cushion with their chair. There’s also a nice photo of her in her bunk. As awesome as this technology is, I want just about nothing to do with its current mode of production.

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    I sure hope our flying cars aren’t going to run on Lotus

    No, Lotus is for the cars that transform into submarines.

  29. 29
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    unlike waving my arms around, it’s more precise and my arms won’t get tired.

    Right. Arm waving looks like a good idea when someone else is doing it in a 5 second shot. But do you really want to interact with your TV by holding both arms out in front of you the whole time like Frankenstein’s Monster?

    Didn’t think so.

  30. 30
    BethanyAnne says:

    @Ben Cisco: I don’t know about flying cars, but Ghostcrawler did promise me a pony. :)

  31. 31
    nepat says:

    Now we can all be John King.

  32. 32
    PurpleGirl says:

    It looks really cool. I want one. I probably don’t need it but it looks like fun.

  33. 33
    different-church-lady says:

    @Maude:

    Email is faster than owls

    Que es mas macho, email o owl?

  34. 34
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: I imagine that there will be a lot of voice commands to go along with the arm waiving

  35. 35
    Arclite says:

    Is it just me, or does this look like you can get pretty tired after the first 5 minutes?

  36. 36
    Rich Webb says:

    @flimflam: One way around corporate blockages is the same kind of VPN you might want to use on business travel (so it’s legit! ;-) when at airports/hotels/etc. where privacy can be a concern. I’ve been using WiTopia but there are several others out there that provide a similar service. Log into the VPN and your ‘net traffic is encrypted. No more worries about whether Mordac in the IT Dept. is sniffing your traffic. Also, if Mordac is reading this, I only use it on travel, really…

  37. 37
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    I imagine that there will be a lot of voice commands to go along with the arm waiving

    FPS: “PEW! PEW! PEW!”

  38. 38
    Arclite says:

    Between this, autonomous drones, and self-driving cars, we get closer to the world of Minority Report every day.

  39. 39
    BGinCHI says:

    Takes masturbation to a whole new level.

  40. 40
    Haydnseek says:

    @guachi: Cole, if you think you have aches and pains now, wait until you try to use this for a three-hour gaming session. I’m sure your insurance covers rotator cuff surgery. You would be exhausted after ten minutes of pointing, waving, steering, etc. I like you, Cole, but you really need to keep it in your pants on this one.

  41. 41
    NCSteve says:

    Depends on what you mean by “real.” The venture capital people who want their money back hope it’s going to be real real soon now.

    And, btw, it’s supposed to be so precise you can do stuff by just wiggling your fingers a bit rather than making all those extravagant gestures.

    Update: And if anyone can enlighten me as to WTF was in this comment that put it into “awaiting moderation,” mode, I’d love to hear it.

    EDIT by Soonergrunt: It appears that Akismet is jacked up again, and it diverted this comment to moderation.

  42. 42
    Xenos says:

    @Jim Kakalios: I was walking down rue Hugo Gernsbeck a couple weeks ago wondering how many people in the land of his birth know who he was. Not many, but enough to get the street named after him. I will try to track down the address where he was born some day.

  43. 43
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: Red team go, red team go!

  44. 44
    MattF says:

    @Xenos: I read this at an early age:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_124C_41%2B

    Ralph 124C 41+!

  45. 45
    RSA says:

    The students in my lab are excited about it. (We do research on human-computer interaction.) The interesting part for us will be understanding what kinds of uses it might be well-suited for.

  46. 46
    Mandalay says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    I have something similar to that on my desk right now, I’m even reading this here website on it. It’s called a touchscreen.

    Not really. What you have is similar to a mouse, since it only works in two dimensions.

    2-D touch screens hardly make 3-D interactive devices redundant. In fact they are merely a very constrained alternative.

  47. 47
    NCSteve says:

    @NCSteve: In hindsight, I’d guess the robot masters put my last comment into moderation because I used the word “wiggling.”

    The question now is whether my use of “hindsight” will do the same.

  48. 48
    JustRuss says:

    Looks cool for some applications, I guess. Forgive me for getting all Charlton Hestony, but you’ll have to pry my mouse from my cold, dead fintgers.

  49. 49
    Calming Influence says:

    @Jim Kakalios:

    “James Kakalios is the Taylor Distinguished Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota….His research program is in experimental condensed matter physics, with particular emphasis on complex and disordered systems.”

    Um, just a suggestion, Dr. Smartypants, but wouldn’t it be easier to have a particular emphasis on simple and ordered systems?!?

    Plus, I want my flying car equipped with a death ray.

  50. 50
    Jewish Steel says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: Quite fatiguing too. Ever paint a ceiling? Christ, it’s like some kind of Dick Cheney torture.

  51. 51
    Shinobi says:

    My arm is tired just from looking at that. I hate touch screens, and I would rather use a touch screen than wiggle my hands around like that.

    I can imagine there might be some pretty cool game potential where you can manipulate 3d objects in some interesting ways, or possible research usage. But I personally will not be running out to buy one.

    My biggest problem with a lot of these “approaching VR” devices, including touch screens is that they lack any kind of biofeedback. My phone has the haptic stuff that is LIKE biofeedback, but it doesn’t help me tell if I’m about to accidentally press the mute button with my face.

    With this I imagine their could be similar issues. Plus there is no magical back button like I have on my phone for when I spazz and hit the wrong spot and end up looking at a google map of Antarctica.

    REAL buttons give you the chance to realize you’re about to hit the wrong one. Why am I the only person on the planet who wants to use real buttons?

  52. 52
    Mandalay says:

    @RSA:

    The interesting part for us will be understanding what kinds of uses it might be well-suited for.

    I agree. Here’s a possible application: show an image or video on the screen, and use the device to capture and analyze the viewer’s head movement rather that their hand and arm movement. What grabs someone’s attention? Where do they look next? What do they ignore? What do they avoid looking at?

    All kinds of reasons to do that…design, advertising, medical, safety, psychology, etc.

  53. 53
    Walker says:

    @Mandalay:

    Sure, I read that. But there are lies, damn lies, and then there are demos.

    I will believe that when I see it in action.

  54. 54
    N. Eugene says:

    Hey cool it’s a Kinect!

  55. 55

    @Haydnseek: I disagree. I have carpal tunnel in both hands and using a mouse and a keyboard can be really difficult sometimes. One could alternate between this and the usual devices.

    Plus, I suck at games that require controllers–no controller, no suck.

  56. 56
    RSA says:

    @Mandalay:

    I agree. Here’s a possible application: show an image or video on the screen, and use the device to capture and analyze the viewer’s head movement rather that their hand and arm movement. What grabs someone’s attention? Where do they look next? What do they ignore? What do they avoid looking at?

    That’s a nice idea. I don’t know whether Leap is sensitive enough to capture such movements, but if it is then it might be useful as a coarser and cheaper/less obtrusive alternative to eye tracking for the same purpose. Results might generalize to other devices, such as Google Glass.

  57. 57
    Mandalay says:

    @Walker:

    Sure, I read that. But there are lies, damn lies, and then there are demos.

    You think that they are lying about the precision???

    Given that this technology is primarily hardware I would think that they have actually limited the precision because greater precision would provide no real additional benefit. The demos seem (to me at least) to support their precision claims.

  58. 58
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay: Your arms are up to the elbows in pasta dough, and you need to look at the next step of the on-line recipe.

    I have a friend who does this on a regular basis. He cooks “in the cloud”, munging up different recipes he finds on-line upon his whim in the kitchen.

    Probably be terrific around the auto repair shop, or the lab, or anywhere your hands get gunked up.

    If they could figure out how I could type without a physical keyboard I’d get one for my audio mixing suite. I’ve never been able to get the mixing surface/keyboard/mouse arrangement into a way that works for all of them.

  59. 59
    flimflam says:

    @Keith: Thanks Keith!

  60. 60
    dr z says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    Yes – like – right now. So annoying!

  61. 61
    Jim Kakalios says:

    We @Calming Influence:

    We focus on easy simple systems as those are the most straightforward to solve, but most of life is actually disordered and messy.

    For proof, either contemplate one’s own personal life, or consider carbon. Of the two forms of carbon – diamond and soot, which is more expensive? In fact, diamond’s value is precisely due to its scarcity, and the fact that you don’t give a ‘soot ring’ to your beloved as a sign of your affection (not if you want them to stick around, at least) is a measure of this fact.

    But scientists know much, much more about the nature of diamond than of soot. That’s because the periodicity of the diamond structure simplifies the Schroedinger equation dramatically. But as scientists it would be nice is we understood the forms that nature actually takes, and not just those for whom the equations are easy to solve.

    I know you were joking, and thanks for looking me up. But this just shows the danger of a asking a professor a simple question – you ALWAYS get a lecture in reply!

    Face Front, True Believers!

    Jim

  62. 62
    Mandalay says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Probably be terrific around the auto repair shop, or the lab, or anywhere your hands get gunked up.

    Right. Or anywhere your hands can’t reach a screen or a keyboard or a mouse. For example, when giving presentations.

    And despite the many naysayers here, I think that in a year or two from now some of us will be paging through the BJ posts by waggling a finger at the screen. Not because it will be cooler than using a touch screen or a mouse, but because it will be easier.

  63. 63
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I’m in my mid-Sixties. I want to vacation on Mars, drive a flying car and I want those robots that they promised would do all of the work. Damn it.

  64. 64
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Mandalay:

    I think that in a year or two from now some of us will be paging through the BJ posts by waggling a finger at the screen.

    Anyone who hasn’t waggled a finger at the screen here already isn’t paying attention.

  65. 65
    Haydnseek says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ: That makes sense. I suffered from carpal tunnel as well, but not when using a keyboard or mouse. Hope your carpal tunnel isn’t too bad.

  66. 66
    gelfling545 says:

    @Maude: I understand that magic messes up electronics. Don’t know where I read that but it’s as good any & owl post looks so cool.

  67. 67
    Kane says:

    They have taken Carpal tunnel syndrome to a whole new level.

  68. 68
    Shinobi says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: I’ll do it as long as the mechanism guarantees I wont accidentally click while scrolling and end up reading Ann Althouse.

  69. 69
    Citizen_X says:

    @Mandalay:

    it can track your individual finger movements to 1/100th of a millimeter.

    10-micron precision may not be useful in many applications without some kind of physical substrate against which to track your finger movements (e.g. a touchscreen or desktop). I can’t track my finger in 3D space to that precision.

    @Mandalay:

    2-D touch screens hardly make 3-D interactive devices redundant. In fact they are merely a very constrained alternative.

    Well, constrained by exactly one dimension.

  70. 70
    Calming Influence says:

    @Jim Kakalios:

    :) I was joking, and it’s also funny that you mention the crystal form of carbon – I work in structural biology, shooting x-rays at protein crystals and using the diffraction pattern to figure out the protein’s 3D structure. Carbon, of course, forms the backbone of all the proteins in our body (it’s ability to form 4 rotational bonds pretty much makes life possible.) So for me, the more ordered the system (crystal), the easier my job is! (I too could go on and an… :)

  71. 71
    Kirk says:

    I think it’s got some potential. Combine it with, say, Nuance’s Dragon and you could pretty much ignore the mouse and keyboard for most daily labor.

    The bad part would be for games (as others have already mentioned) while you keep your hands in the air for hours on end. Assuming, of course, you can’t use a brace or offset of some sort. That said there’s a lot of long-term pain happening to folk from using a mouse for extended periods, too.

  72. 72
    Morzer says:

    I wonder when CNN will feature the first “artwork” created by Erick Son Of Erick waving his Boehner around in front of the monitor?

  73. 73
    Morzer says:

    I wonder when CNN will feature the first “artwork” created by Erick Son Of Erick waving his Boehner around in front of the monitor?

  74. 74
    ruemara says:

    I can’t be the only one who thinks of this quote: “How did we get anything done without 3-D interfaces?”

  75. 75
    steverino says:

    In one of the Hitchhikers Guide books, there is a radio interface that senses motion, and as a result you have to sit rigidly still to keep from changing the station, volume, etc.

  76. 76
    Ohmmade says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): and people who don’t want to be waving their hands in the air all day just trying to use photoshop.

  77. 77
    mainmati says:

    @guachi: If you’ve ever tried using even a good mouse for semi-serious drawing you know it is really a poor human interface tool for that purpose. A stylus on an iPad works much better and a Wacom-type drawing pad and stylus even better, of course. But your homely mouse is really not much good at the finer stuff. Believe me, I have had lots of practice. I’ll keep an open mind about this tool until I try it out. It looks like it is meant to be mainly a plaything rather than a serious art tool but we’ll see.

  78. 78
    PonB says:

    @Southern Beale: Here you go, from TED 2010 (February 2010)… http://www.ted.com/talks/john_.....sture.html

  79. 79
    John M says:

    Cripes! Now I’m going to have to learn ballet???

  80. 80
    Brian Upton says:

    What a shitty user interface. Fatiguing motions + lack of haptic feedback + the need to memorize a bunch of obscure gestures = a system that’s completely worthless for most real-world applications.

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