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Minority Report UI For The Military 227

Posted by Zonk
from the at-least-some-good-will-come-from-that-movie dept.
merryprankster writes "New Scientist is reporting that a 'Minority Report' style interface is being developed by defense company Raytheon. Users don a pair of reflective gloves and manipulate images projected on a panoramic screen. A mounted camera keeps track of hand movements and a computer interprets gestures. Raytheon has even employed John Underkoffler, the researcher who proposed the interface to the makers of the film. Now just wait till Billboards start scanning your iris."
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Minority Report UI For The Military

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  • pr0n (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15, 2005 @10:51PM (#12252058)
    i wonder what viewing porn will be like with these new gloves.
  • Yes, but (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15, 2005 @10:51PM (#12252061)
    When will it carve wooden balls?
    • Re:Yes, but (Score:5, Funny)

      by IronChefMorimoto (691038) on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:35PM (#12252306)
      I'd be more interested in whose names will be on the balls...

      [soldier at facility] "Alert the president. We have a black ball. It's the Ayatollah. He'll want to handle this one personally. Get the spider hole team ready. We leave in 5. We'll stay for 5 too."

      [2nd solider] "Sir! We have another ball -- red. It appears that North Korea is tipping on its Axis of Evil."

      [1st soldier] "You can ignore that one. We always do. A nutjob with nukes isn't nearly as scary as these dictatorial types with oil."

      IronChefMorimoto
    • Re:Yes, but (Score:3, Informative)

      by LionKimbro (200000)
      When it get's attached to this. [epiloglaser.com]
  • BORING (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15, 2005 @10:51PM (#12252064)
    I thought it was going to be an interface consisting of three psychic kids in tanks making all your decisions before you. That would be much more useful.
  • by tonsofpcs (687961) <slashback.tonsofpcs@com> on Friday April 15, 2005 @10:52PM (#12252067) Homepage Journal
    It has been being done for years by the film and video industry, albeit mainly not in realtime, but such places as the Liberty Science Center [lsc.org] had interactive games that used contrasting colors to determine what the player was doing [they had basketball for sometime where you wore either a chroma-blue or chroma-green glove]
    • Wouldn't it be easier to just put 5 little transmitters on the tips of the fingers and triangulate all fingers. It'd be much more accurate and have much less noise in the data. Some may argue that itd be too battery intensive, but there could be two solutions. A) The transmitters would be very low power because the distance needed wouldn't be very much and no intense processing would be needed on their part, they just have to send out some unique signal with time data. I know bluetooth devices now (PDAs and
      • The shape of your hand and, thus, how it interacts with things, can't be determined with just the positions of your finger tips.

        For example, notice you can independently bend your second and third knuckes. (Counting from the fingertip, that is.) Each possibility leads to a unique shape.

        I suspect the least uncomfortable system would be to have latex gloves with unqiuely-colored spots on key areas. Use a binary system with paints that only reflect at specific wavelengths, and create custom CCDs that detec
        • That seems to be similar what this thing [in the article] does, but it uses sets of coded white spots on a black background (glove) [like some 3d image acquisition programs/packages use].
        • by plover (150551) * on Saturday April 16, 2005 @02:07AM (#12252961) Homepage Journal
          Well, if you had position and orientation for each fingertip pad, there'd pretty much be only one position the hand could be in to achieve it. The rest of the parts of the fingers and hand could be interpolated.

          Try an experiment: fix your wrist, then position your fingertips in any configuration. Now, try moving any of your hand or finger bones while keeping the fingertips in the exact same position and orientation. It's very difficult, and you probably can't move those other bones too far.

          Besides, it would be very rare indeed if the orientation of the second and third knuckles independent of the fingertips would be relevant to the task being performed. And even if that were true, trying that experiment shows me the interpolated position probably wouldn't vary by more than a few degrees at most.

          Getting back to data gloves in general, I always thought the real data glove from many years ago was a clever piece of engineering. The one I remember seeing had an IR transceiver mounted on one side of each joint, and the IR beam was interrupted by variable width "vanes" affixed to the other side of each joint. The degree of flex was correlated to the amount of IR that was passed through the isolator. No moving or rotating parts to wear out (except for the glove,) and no friction for the user.

    • I played a game like that at the Pittsburgh Science Center in 5th grade (7 1/2 years ago), it was kinda neat you had a green screen behing you and looked at the monitor and you could use you gloves to play realistic basket ball. It was fun then, sounds like the technology is really picking up though, can't wait until I have a better home version of it.
  • Johnny Mnemonic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by headkase (533448) on Friday April 15, 2005 @10:52PM (#12252069)
    Finally, a good explanation for the data-gloves Reeves used in the movie.
  • I am way too clumsy to be trusted with one of these things. I have visions of my self slipping and dragging everything where it is not supposed to be dragged. Or something. Maybe I just fear change.
  • This appears to be wasteful spending. I wonder what congressional district the defense company is located in?

    The system under development at Raytheon lets users don a pair of reflective gloves and manipulate images projected on a panoramic screen. A mounted camera keeps track of hand movements and a computer interprets gestures

    "Hand gestures, unlike a mouse or pointer, work really well when data is represented on wall-sized displays, for example."

    And where in the field will this be used?

    Am I the

    • The U.S. military has operated in 3 dimensions since the Civil War.

      This might be useful in air combat control. There's got to be a limit to what can be conveyed on a flat computer screen or edge-lit piece of glass.

      It might also be useful for detecting patterns in huge amounts of data. You've probably seen images where data is represented by a 3D projection. If you could manipulate the interpretation from inside, maybe you could see patterns more readily than from a fixed viewing point outside the system.
    • I wonder what congressional district the defense company is located in?

      Raytheon has facilities in almost every state. They merged with Hughes a while back, and manufacture a wide variety of defense equipment, especially in the aerospace sector.

      And where in the field will this be used?

      The article says, in the field of satellite reconnaissance imagery. It'd be like using a mouse, except you can move more than one screen object at once with the fluidity of every day hand motions. Far more efficient.

      Am I the only one who gets scared when I imagine what a room in the pentagon might look like, with Generals wearing special glasses, and moving projected data off walls?

      Probably. Most men are made of sterner stuff.
    • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:20PM (#12252226)
      This appears to be wasteful spending.

      Someone probably said the same thing about ARPANET.

      I wonder what congressional district the defense company is located in?

      Edward J. Markey [house.gov] (Ranking Democrat on the Telecommunications and Internet subcommittee)

      Raytheon is based in Waltham, Massachussetts, but they have offices everywhere. Canada, Japan, Oz...
      And they are Linux friendly. [prnewswire.com]

      And where in the field will this be used?
      One use might be a virtual sand table. Not everything the military does is 'in the field'.

      Am I the only one who gets scared when I imagine what a room in the pentagon might look like, with Generals wearing special glasses, and moving projected data off walls?

      Probably.
      Generals don't move data. They direct Col's and Majors to do that.

      • This appears to be wasteful spending.

        Someone probably said the same thing about ARPANET.


        ARPANET wasn't about replacing nimble control with sluggish/gross control or mimicking movies that involved lotto balls as a core element.

        I really don't see much here that can't be done using a smaller finger controlled representation of the bigger one.

        The arm waving thing is generally idiotic, like most Speilberg stuff...
    • I don't know. Wasteful government spending is one thing. It's usually paying many times what some average Joe could buy at Walmart or Home Depot. But the government spending money on new technology can be a good thing. People on /. love to bitch about how US companies don't actually invent anything new. So maybe the government investing in technology is good for the country in the long run.

      I mean, hell, where would the internet have come from?
    • Dear Mr. Seminal,

      As the general in charge of the "Five Grand Crapper Initiative" here at the Dept. of Defense, I take offense with your assertion that we waste taxpayer money or that our decisions are based on congressional vote buying.

      I assure you, our decision to fund research into WMD-reisitant albino elephants, calfs made EMP-proof by gold plating, and pig meat for distribution to patriotic voters had nothing to do with the esteemed congresswhores^H^H^H^H^H^Hmen from those states.

      Why, I am writing th
    • The last 2-3 wars Americans have bombed canadian troops by accident.

      Anything which would prevent that would be nice :)
    • So why not use a big touchscreen? I've used on of those, it has a projector, and you can click, double-click, drag, everything except right-click really easiely by just touching it.
  • by 9mm Censor (705379) on Friday April 15, 2005 @10:57PM (#12252097) Homepage
    Raytheon is more than a defence contractor. They make alot of commercial electronics, including alot of marine equipment such as radar and radios.
  • by FredThompson (183335) <fredthompsonNO@SPAMmindspring.com> on Friday April 15, 2005 @10:57PM (#12252098)
    A buddy of mine used to defend Windows Solitaire while in the Navy by claiming it was a clever interface training aid. That worked on every senior officer who complained about "playing games."

    What "training aid" will ship with these gloves? Virtual handball?

    Ooohhh...VirtualBoy on steroids!!
  • by menace3society (768451) on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:00PM (#12252115)
    The advantage of using gloves is not to get a more intuitive, 3-D version of the mouse. The advantage to gloves is that you can have more than one (or two) pointers on a screen. Imagine using photoshop or some other editing software, and, instead of having to mouse around or hit keys to change tools, you just contracted a different finger. Touch typing is much faster than hunt-and-peck; why shouldn't the same be the case for graphical interfaces?
    • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot AT keirstead DOT org> on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:04PM (#12252145) Homepage
      There is a reason none of these VR interfaces never go anywhere. The human body is not designed to hold it's arms suspended in mid-air for extende dperiods of time.

      Try it yourself - stick your hands in front of the monitor, a bit below level with your shoulders. Feel free to move them around as if you are "manipulating".

      Now, see how long you can hold them up there before your shoulders give out.

      Now compare that to how long you can use a keyboard and mouse in one session.

      It is not even in the same ballpark.
      • by AJWM (19027)
        I'd mod you up insightful but I've already commented here.

        That was exactly my first thought -- waving your arms around is bloody tiring. Heck, I like to have my mouse tracking set so I can pretty much move the cursor from one side of the screen to the other by just flexing my fingers, the heel of my palm pretty much rests in one spot (and in a different spot when using the keyboard).
        • Given the sedentry lifestyles we live today, I'd think getting tired using a computer is good, both in the sense it burns a few more calories, and discourages extended periods of usage.
      • by Tlosk (761023) on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:36PM (#12252311)
        It is and it isn't. Anytime you try doing some physical activity you are unaccustomed to there will be an adaptation period where you experience fatigue and soreness. Once your muscles have adapted though you hardly notice it at all.

        If you never take the stairs, try walking down 8 or 10 flights of stairs, the next day your calves will be thrashed, but if you do it every day you won't even notice it a bit.

        Or try mixing concrete by hand, uber hard labor if it's not something you're used to, but run of the mill for people that do it regularly.

        Holding your hands in the air isn't exactly hard labor lol, although I suspect we'd also do it standing just like they did in the movies, the kinematics of moving your arms and hands is very different standing than it is sitting.
        • Ideally, not everything you do with a computer needs to be directed by your hands or gestures. Give the computer a decent head-direciton and eyeball-direction-watching ability, and some decent voice recognition. 90% of my interaction with people is through voice; I only resort to my hands when words are insufficient or too slow. Why shouldn't I direct a computer the same way?
          • Oh don't get me wrong, I also think this control method stinks and will never go anywhere, but it will be for the reasons you just mentioned, not because it's too tiring. I could see it maybe in some highly specialized settings with a custom UI for the job, but it will never gain any traction as a general interface.
        • In each of your examples, the muscles involved get a chance at rest.

          Holding your arms out continually puts some muscles under constant tension. No muscle in the human body was designed for that kind of punishment; Even the heart muscles, composed of the only muscle tissue that doesn't get tired, get rest periods every beat.

        • ... with the Minority Report user interface, all computer geeks will be as buff as Tom Cruise, and coffee in break rooms of software companies will be replaced by Gatorade.
      • Your point is interesting. But, I think these will work anyways.

        The interfaces could work in the same space that your keyboard and mouse work today.

        And second, people make hand gestures when they talk with each other in person. Just because they can't constantly be gesticulating constantly, it doesn't mean that it's not useful to do it now and then.

        I can imagine someone lifting their hands off their keyboard, and then performing spatial operations just a few inches in the plane above. Perhaps moving a wi
      • The human body is not designed to hold it's arms suspended in mid-air for extende dperiods of time.

        Tomorrow on Slashdot: "Laws" of Physics Disproved, armchair UFO gravity drive researchers cite orchestra conductors as evidence that modern science is flawed, based on false presumptions.
  • .. where to copy a file from one side of the room to the other, they essentially use a ***giant floppy disk***? Sure, it was a cool floppy disk, with live action video playing on it, but still... its a floppy disk.

    You'd have thunk that by the time they had perfected 3D holography and VR manipulation, they could at least have kept up with some high-capacity networking. I guess not - floppys are the future!

  • by michaeldot (751590) on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:00PM (#12252118)
    Tomorrow's news today: Microsoft invites bloggers with high readership to dinner. Shows them previews of Minority Report style interface. Bloggers write gushing reports about it.
  • Good. Now that they have that resolved, they can focus on the really important tech: "Sick Sticks".
  • I'm Impressed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Effugas (2378) * on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:01PM (#12252129) Homepage
    In tech, we often find ourselves referring to the Hollywood Operating System. You know, the one where every key press makes a "click" sound, and passwords are cracked one character at a time (admittedly, something that actually worked against Windows 9x file shares).

    I was actually impressed with the UI in Minority Report. I'm not saying it was necessarily perfect, but it wasn't obviously ridiculous either. There is a need to monitor information flows across many different sources, to simultaneously sense them, and to have the ability to integrate on demand. A large display with linkable data nodes is one approach that deserves further analysis.
    • Yeah, but if you watch carefully, they still need to transfer data onto a disk to get information from one computer 5ft away from the other computer. Blows my mind why they just can't do it wirelessly, or even have the computer's hard wired, they are so close.
    • In tech, we often find ourselves referring to the Hollywood Operating System. You know, the one where every key press makes a "click" sound

      I use a Model M you insensitive clod!
    • Re:I'm Impressed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 1u3hr (530656)
      In tech, we often find ourselves referring to the Hollywood Operating System. You know, the one where every key press makes a "click" sound, and passwords are cracked one character at a time (admittedly, something that actually worked against Windows 9x file shares).

      Not to mention that text appears line by line on screen (slower than a PCXT) with a sound reminiscent of a line printer...

      I was actually impressed with the UI in Minority Report.

      I don't know why MR is getting the "credit" for this. It's har

  • by MyIS (834233) on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:03PM (#12252140) Homepage
    I see this as being pretty exhausting after prolonged use. Perhaps if minute hand movements were translated into large gestures on the big screen... but that's what a conventional mouse does. I think the most revolutionary part would be to make "drag-drop" thing a lot more physical, i.e. add small amounts of inertia to dragged objects. Also, Google for the copy-paste pen device - really nifty stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:05PM (#12252152)
    I get so lazy sometimes, that instead of leaning all the way up to the keyboard, I copy and paste letters to spell out words with the mouse, and you want me to USE MY ARMS!?!?!!?!!?

    I'll need to down a bottle of water just to get my computer out of sleep mode.

    Gestures are a gateway interface :)
  • for the curious (Score:4, Informative)

    by same_old_story (833424) on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:06PM (#12252166)
    John Underkoffler came from MIT's tangible media group [mit.edu]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's all wonderfully productive until some bozo offers to shake your hand while you're busy working, and you brush all your work off the screen.
  • Interface (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sbillard (568017) on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:19PM (#12252222) Journal
    Push/Pull
    Slide/Spin/Twist
    Grab/Grip/Grok/Associate
    Wipe/Toss
    ...So many more distinct gestures/commands are possilbe.
    I read a lot of Phillip K Dick and the interface portrayed in Minority Report was wonderfull.... not the goop-pool..... I'm refering to the the big screen Tom Cruise manipulated.... the goop-pool interface is the opposite extreme.
    Nice story...original author highly recommended.

    it makes me wonder. Which side are you on?

    Hoppy Harrington says "Hi"gher
  • Accuracy? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LordoftheFrings (570171) <null@fr[ ]est.ca ['agf' in gap]> on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:23PM (#12252241) Homepage
    I wonder how accurate this would be. Would it even be really useful for first person shooters that require pinpoint precision? I would say no, but then again, I'm somehow fairly accurate with a mouse, so my hands can be accurate with training. I'm not sure about the whole arm bit though.
  • Also.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pherthyl (445706) on Friday April 15, 2005 @11:23PM (#12252242)
    Have a look at HandVu [ucsb.edu] for something that works right now.

    I was planning on writing something similar to this (actually, very similar, same libraries and everything) but now may just build on top of the HandVu libraries instead.
  • After reading this, Mr. Cranky's review [mrcranky.com] of Minority Report stands out in my mind. "After the balls roll out of the ramp, Anderton stands in front of a huge screen with his hands up in the air and attempts to masturbate imaginary pigeons. (Okay, I get what he's doing, but the idea that operating a computer 52 years from now will be something akin to air Kung Fu seems excessively stupid.)" ^^^^^ What he said.
  • I agree with many other commenters that the hand-wavey interface makes better cinema than UI. I'd find it tiring too, and besides, if I want to scratch an itch on my body or something, I wouldn't want the computer to delete files or something. Being able to lose contact with the computer is handy.

    But the comment about iris-reading billboards reminds me of what really scares me. That was a clever fictional technique in its day, but who needs it when there's RFID? You have a chip in your clothes, wallet,
  • Add voice too. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @12:05AM (#12252453)
    As other posters have pointed out, it would be difficult to hold your arms up for extended periods. However, if paired with good voice recognition imagine mostly talking with occasionally moving/adjusting objects.
  • I seem to recall that during scenes in the film where the computer interface was being used the operators were physically passing back and forth what looked like large acrylic disks and inserting them into the drives. It was a strange dichotomy to see an apparently sophisticated interface coupled with such an archaic manner of data transport (i.e. sneaker net). It was as if the idea of local area network had not occurred to them (or perhaps not to the producers or set designers anyway).
  • the faggy hand gesture drama queen user interface?

  • ... when do we get the civilian version?

    I've wanted something like this (or at least the Power Glove) since I first used 3dStudio MAX in 1997. Using keyboard and mouse to manipulate 3d space? I kept wanting to reach into the monitor and spin the mesh around. Very frustrating.

    Seriously, the computer interface in Minority Report is probably the coolest damned thing I've ever seen in a movie, ever. First time CG has made my jaw drop since The Last Starfighter, and it did it by presenting a "proof of conc
  • If a billboard scanned my iris, it'd be the last iris it ever scanned. EVAR. (I'm not the only one who feels that way, right?)
  • Well, you can implement cheaper and less robast hand-tracking camera system with little coding using open sourced Augmented reality [uni-weimar.de] system - ARToolkit [sourceforge.net]. Put small ARToolkit markers on the gloves as described at this article [tinmith.net] (photo [c-lab.de], and implement some gesture recognition (for example that one [ucsb.edu] )
  • New Scientist is reporting that a 'Minority Report' style interface is being developed by defense company Raytheon. Users don a pair of reflective gloves and manipulate images projected on a panoramic screen. A mounted camera keeps track of hand movements and a computer interprets gestures.

    Where will they get the pre-cogs from?

  • by bobbabemagnet (247383) on Saturday April 16, 2005 @06:02AM (#12253665)

    At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, we are implementing something we call the HI-Space table, which uses a camera to track hand motions as well. Ours doesn't need special gloves, though. You can walk up to the table and move your hands around and it watches any number of hands, doing any number of poses. It detects objects that are placed in the space and recognizes them if they are in the database. We have voice recognition, too, so it can respond to spoken commands.

    One of the best things about our system is that it is completely untethered and intuitive. There is no training period, and no device to put on. You are interacting with the digital world by manipulating in the physical world.

    I write applications for the table. There are a lot of issues that come up that you wouldn't normally think about. For example, with many hands in the space, it's easy to have people doing conflicting things. Actions are not so clearly defined, either. For example, when selecting a button, do you point to it? For how long? What if your finger moves a little?

    We are currently conducting user studies to see in what ways the HI-Space table is better than the desktop and cave environments, and we're looking for other applications and organizations interested in using this technology.

    http://www.hitl.washington.edu/projects/hispace// [washington.edu]
    http://www.pnl.gov/infoviz/hces// [pnl.gov]

    contact me at bob [dot] baddeley [at] pnl [dot] gov

  • Perhaps the short description here on slashdot is misleading, but I've seen systems with motion tracking using special gloves myself more than 10 years ago. Here's a big list [cs.sfu.ca] of such or similar products.
  • how soon they forget
  • I dunno about scanning irises, but I do know that a lot of people are considering using the RF transmitter that almost everyone in the US carries (aka their cellphone) to target advertising and sales at them.

    It's been possible for a few years. The "hard" part is associating the cell phone's ID to the person, but the second you run a credit card through the cash register....

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]

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