This week I attended Technology Review’s Emerging Technology conference at MIT in Boston (EmTech 2009). Unlike most tech
related meetings, almost everything displayed here was technology that was just launching, in final beta stages, or still on
the drawing board. Instead of pitching products for us to buy, these geniuses of tech were showing us where the world of
technology is headed through their eyes, or more pointedly, through their inventions.
I could write several blogs of all the groundbreaking technologies that were launched at EmTech09, but instead I wanted to
highlight my favorite.
Imagine having a sixth sense and being able to access information on any item you are coming across. Whether it is
information about products while shopping, services being offered, or reviews on the go about a local restaurant you are
physically looking at from across the street; Pranav Mistry of MIT's media lab has invented a product that could soon give
everyone that elusive sixth sense.
While some will argue that cell phones and other types of media gives us a semi sixth sense now, Pranav has taken it 10
steps further. With the technology he has developed at MIT’s Media Lab, you would be able to instantly access information
about a person you are meeting. Today it wouldn’t be practical to meet someone and before talking to them, ask them to
minute while you Google them on your mobile device. With Sixth Sense, the information about a person would be available
through eyeglasses and other devices almost instantaneously. Think this might not be possible? Consider the fact that the
browser FireFox by Mozilla is working on a product that would recognize peoples faces in conferences and display their latest
tweets, information, etc. So the technology already exists to recognize individuals, but Sixth Sense then scours the Internet
getting you the relevant information that you need when you need it.
One of the best demonstrations of this technology is for consumers when shopping. If you told the system that you only
want to buy products from companies that have taken steps in being energy efficient and eco–friendly, Sixth Sense would
scan all products while you walk and shop letting you know in real time which products meet your criteria. Sound like
something out of Star Wars or Terminator? Well, it is. With Augmented Reality technology growing at an accelerated pace,
items like Sixth Sense is only the tip of the iceberg. Visit this video to see MIT professor Pattie Maes introducing Sixth
Sense at this years TED conference. Although Sixth Sense was the coolest thing I saw at EmTech 2009, there were tons of
emerging technologies that were displayed worthy of talking about. I invite you to visit Technology Review, the MIT magazine
that puts on EmTech to find out more information about the latest advances in technology. Prepare to have your mind blown.
About the Author:
Damien is the Founder and CEO of FindAnyFloor.com as well as several other technolgy businesses specializing in social media and search.