Pranav Mistry, MIT Grad student and verified genius, asks a simple question: How can knowledge of everyday objects influence our interaction with the digital world? Answer: a lot.
Pranav Mistry wants to connect the physical and digital worlds seamlessly -- not by bringing the physical world into computers, but by bringing the digital world into our daily existence. He's turning the physical world into computers. Technically, it's incredibly complex, but the beauty of the idea is it's simplicity. Why would you switch from paper to monitor when your paper could become a monitor? Why would you bring a laptop with you when you have perfectly good table beneath your fingers?
Mistry has invented a small device, like a tiny projector, that acts as the user's 'third eye.' As it hangs around your neck, the device recognizes multitouch, freehand and iconic gestures that the user makes in the air, reacting to them by projecting your email on the wall in front of you, or a keyboard and screen on the table before you, or even by projecting a pinball game onto the floor of the subway. To see just how incredible it is, watch the TED Talk in which Mistry demos the device for a speechless audience:
Imagine picking up a book in the bookstore, and tapping the cover -- within seconds, the book's Amazon rating is projected on it's cover. Imagine clipping the device to a piece of paper, and dragging the text off the page directly onto the table, where you start to type.
Imagine is the key word: Pranav Mistry let his imagination run wild as he looked around him and saw that the devices we were using created a 4th wall where one wasn't needed. His goal is to create an completely intuitive workflow that actually helps us stay human -- technology that keeps us in the physical world.
The best part? The device is incredibly accessible -- the potential it has to impact developing countries and low-income areas is incredible, because the device cost Mistry $350 to build alone in a lab. When mass produced, the price will plummet.