Mobile, hand held, wearables and locative content: Sixth Sense by Pattie Maes

During the 2009 TED conference, MIT professor Pattie Maes and her student Pranav Mistry presented a portable wearable device called “Sixth Sense”. “Sixth Sense” is basically comprised of a mini-projector, a smart phone, and a webcam connected to a lanyard around the users neck.

The actual cost of the components runs around $350 to produce. Maes states that the “device is totally mobile and in the future would not cost more than today’s cell phone”. During the presentation Maes continues to state that “We take in information from the world with our five senses, but by harnessing the power of the web, we could take in so much more.” The way the device works is rather similar to the Microsoft Surface interface in that hand gestures manipulate objects and indicate commands. Very similar to the interface showcased in the movie ”Minority Report”.

Must state that the demonstration is very impressive indeed. Unlike other mobile devices, Sixth Sense does not require an actual surface, but uses a “webcam to interpret gesture”. For example if the user wants to take a photo of an item or location, he/she can simply make a picture gesture in order to take a photo.

Also if a user wants to know the time they can simply drawing a circle on their wrist in order to view the time and date. During the 2009 TED conference presentation the device shown appeared rather clunky, requiring the user to wear colorful plastic caps on their fingers in order to interpret the relationships between what they are interacting with and the device. It is astonishing to see how far technology has come along and hope to be able to purchase a more refined version of this device in the near future!


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