Designers Create A Prototypical "Star Trek" Computer System

The project, called RoomE, uses off-the-shelf hardware and custom-designed software to create an environment in which the computer is always watching and responds to both voice and gesture commands.

What's the Latest Development?


Technologists at the Austin offices of design firm frog have combined sensors, projectors, and custom-built software to create an entire room that responds to voice and motion commands. The project, titled RoomE, is one of the first examples of a type of interface previously only seen in science fiction, where the computer is always aware of who's in the room and can react accordingly based on the person's needs. Frog fellow Jared Ficklin says, "A lot of people seem to be working on various pieces [of the interface] but no one has yet to combine them. That’s one reason we had to build one for ourselves." The project is a proof-of-concept and not intended for commercial release.

What's the Big Idea?

RoomE represents an attempt to traverse the gap between today's heads-down interfaces and the resulting behavioral issues -- such as people bumping into each other because they're deep into their smartphones -- and more natural interfaces that "act like ecologies, rather than single organisms." As a potential template, the project offers lots of ideas for a future world in which everything is connected. In the meantime, the frog team offers a guide on their Web site for people who want to build their own RoomE.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at FastCompany/Co.Design

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • In some fundamental ways, humans haven't changed all that much since the days when we were sitting around communal fires, telling tales.
  • Although we don't always recognize them as such, stories, symbols, and rituals still have tremendous, primal power to move us and shape our lives.
  • This is no less true in the workplace than it is in our personal lives.

Has a black hole made of sound confirmed Hawking radiation?

One of Stephen Hawking's predictions seems to have been borne out in a man-made "black hole".

Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Surprising Science
  • Stephen Hawking predicted virtual particles splitting in two from the gravitational pull of black holes.
  • Black holes, he also said, would eventually evaporate due to the absorption of negatively charged virtual particles.
  • A scientist has built a black hole analogue based on sound instead of light.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • The word "creative" is sometimes waved around like a badge of honor. We speak of creativity in hushed tones, as the special province of the "talented". In reality, the creative process is messy, open, and vulnerable.
  • For this reason, creativity is often at its best in a group setting like brainstorming. But in order to work, the group creative process needs to be led by someone who understands it.
  • This sense of deep trust—that no idea is too silly, that every creative impulse is worth voicing and considering—is essential to producing great work.