Pranav Mistry is a real source of inspirations for his “Thinking out of the box”.

Inventor of SixthSense, Pranav Mistry, here at TedIndia demos several tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data. He works at MIT and published SixthSense as open source. In 2014 after 12 million views on Ted and 5 years online, this speech still sounds pretty incredible, check it out…

Subtitles available in 41 languages, start the video and change language in the bottom right corner.

Why you should listen

Pranav Mistry is a PhD student in the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT’s Media Lab. Before his studies at MIT, he worked with Microsoft as a UX researcher; he’s a graduate of IIT. Mistry is passionate about integrating the digital informational experience with our real-world interactions.

Some previous projects from Mistry’s work at MIT includes intelligent sticky notes, Quickies, that can be searched and can send reminders; a pen that draws in 3D; and TaPuMa, a tangible public map that can act as Google of physical world. His research interests also include Gestural and Tangible Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, AI, Machine Vision, Collective Intelligence and Robotics.

Excerpt from Ted’s transcript

Chris Anderson

So, Pranav, first of all, you're a genius. This is incredible, really. What are you doing with this? Is there a company being planned? Or is this research forever, or what?

Pranav Mistry

So, there are lots of companies -- actually sponsor companies of Media Lab -- interested in taking this ahead in one or another way. Companies like mobile phone operators want to take this in a different way than the NGOs in India, [who] are thinking, "Why can we only have 'Sixth Sense'? We should have a 'Fifth Sense' for missing-sense people who cannot speak. This technology can be used for them to speak out in a different way with maybe a speaker system."

Chris Anderson

What are your own plans? Are you staying at MIT, or are you going to do something with this?

Pranav Mistry

I'm trying to make this more available to people so that anyone can develop their own SixthSense device, because the hardware is actually not that hard to manufacture or hard to make your own. We will provide all the open source software for them, maybe starting next month.

Chris Anderson

Open source? Wow... Are you going to come back to India with some of this, at some point?

Pranav Mistry

Yeah. Yes, yes, of course.

Chris Anderson

What are your plans? MIT? India? How are you going to split your time going forward?

Pranav Mistry

There is a lot of energy here. Lots of learning. All of this work that you have seen is all about my learning in India. And now, if you see, it's more about the cost-effectiveness: this system costs you $300 compared to the $20,000 surface tables, or anything like that. Or maybe even the $2 mouse gesture system at that time was costing around $5,000? So, we actually -- I showed that, at a conference, to President Abdul Kalam, at that time, and then he said, "OK, we should use this in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre for some use of that." So I'm excited about how I can bring the technology to the masses rather than just keeping that technology in the lab environment.

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