3 Minority Report-Inspired Technology Now Realized

It seems as if the tech world is still not over the Minority Report craze. The movie, which is based on a popular sci-fi short story by Philip K. Dick, continues to spawn Minority Report-inspired technology. Here are some of the most interesting ones:

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Stratus iris scanning

This technology may sound creepy, but it’s also one of the most useful. Just last February, a company called AOptix unveiled its latest contribution to the field of biometrics.  Using military-grade iris recognition, the AOptix shell called Stratus is a mobile solution for the iPhone that lets you verify someone’s identity. Aside from the iris scanner, the Stratus also has a built-in finger scanner and facial recognition capabilities.  The technology is so simple to use; it’s just like using a camera phone. You can simply hold the Stratus with one hand and use the scanner while the other party looks at the Stratus camera and opens his eyes. For Minority Report fans, this tech will probably be familiar to you.  In the movie, eye-flashers identify people walking through a public plaza, making police privy to their every move.

Although Stratus has only been in the market for a few weeks, quite a few are already interested in the technology. One of them is the US Department of Defense, which has granted AOptix $3-million to develop the tech further. However, it is not only in the military that iris scanning will be useful.  AOptix is also pitching to use the Stratus in law enforcement, doing its work in custom offices and border-crossing sites.  In fact, you can already see iris scanning in action in Dubai.  The city’s airport uses an automated two-gate customs system made by AOptix.  To get through the first gate requires a passport scan, while an iris print will get you through a second gate.  According to the company, the system, once fully deployed, will bring down the waiting time from 49 minutes to a mere 22 seconds.  With the recent developments in this technology, you can say that The Verge is right in observing that scanning your iris could be as easy as swiping your credit card in the future.

Microsoft Kinect gesture controls

One of the coolest things in the Minority Report was watching Tom Cruise control his computer purely through pinch-to-zoom and multi-touch interactions.  Today, gesture control, Minority Report-style is closer than ever with Microsoft’s 3D modelling API Kinect Fusion. The Microsoft Research Cambridge team has found a way to track hand motions and recognize open and closed hands using Kinect sensors.  The team has demonstrated how users can use their hands create 3D models of objects and environments using Kinect, but there are other exciting possibilities with the technology.  Future developments may finally allow you to throw away that mouse and control your computer with cool hand movements.

The Leap gesture controls

Another innovator in the field of gesture control is Leap Motion which introduced The Leap motion controller in 2012.  The technology, not much bigger than your usual USB dongle, connects to your computer and creates an interactive 8-cubic virtual space. Said to be “200 times more accurate” than other existing devices, The Leap Motion controller then lets you manipulate the three-dimensional space through expansive and fine hand movements. In 2013, the Minority Report-inspired technology once again took centerstage at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, showcasing its precision and responsiveness through popular games like Fruit Ninja and software like Corel Draw 12. Leap says that its vision is different from Kinect and other devices, which focuses on learned gesture control or a new type of sign language.  Instead, Leap “understands” what you want to do through natural hand and finger movements. Set for worldwide retail availability on July 27, the $79.99 device has secured partnerships with HP, Best Buy, Google Earth, and Asus.

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