I’m sure many of you will have seen the Tom Cruise blockbuster Minority Report and marvelled at the scene where he begins throwing images around a glass screen, zooming in, sweeping away, all with delicate hand gestures. The future, right? Many of these futuristic elements of films are actually based on technology that already exists in some form.
It’s not a huge leap to go from Nintendo’s Wii with its gesture control for gaming to having 3D images float in front of you that you can control with grabs and swipes. Games consoles such as XBOX and Play Station are already capable of 3D imaging and gesture recognition; it won’t be long before the gaming industry embraces and integrates the two. And if the gaming industry can do it, the movie industry certainly can. From there it’s only a matter of time before companies that devise home control systems catch on and the control of everything in your home, from lighting and heating to music and movies is controlled through an interface floating in the air via your 3D screen.
Another technology set to have an even larger impact on how you live in your home is a personal, virtual assistant that’s with you wherever you are. Stuff of the future? Apple’s iPhone 4S has a function called Siri. Voice recognition that goes beyond taking recognised commands and claims to actually understand what you are asking. “Will I need and umbrella tomorrow?” Siri answers “the weather will be sunny tomorrow” “How about in Cardiff?” Siri replies “it will be raining in Cardiff”. Move that technology into the home and it gets exciting.
If my home knew when I arrived in the evening – perhaps it recognises a chip in my phone – as I walk in the door I could be greeted and told I have three phone messages, an email and that someone knocked at the door at 11.30 and left a parcel. This is really possible and it’s not very far away. Google also have their own version in development and with their expertise in web searching, booking tickets for theatres or buying items on Amazon could all be handled by your virtual assistant.
We are just in the infancy of this technology, but it’s moving so fast I’m sure my son will come home from work one day and say “Hal, can you put the news on, and how about a nice cup of tea?”.