Near future: Taking a photo with your fingers

This whole talk is great, but at 6:24 you’ll see the holy-schnapps moment: Taking a photo with your fingers.

That’s Pranav Mistry in 2009 explaining how his invention “sees” your gestures through a camera and uses a little LED projector to give you a “screen” to work on.

Because the talk is two years old, we can jump into the future — 2012 — and see what happened next. We’re all using this now, right? Er. Also, no jetpacks.

But give it time. In January 2012, TEDTalks reported Pranav Mistry and his crew had posted the SixthSense code to let anyone who wants to dig in and start building their own devices and apps. Pranav’s website says building a prototype SixthSense device would cost about $350, and links to instructions for building your own.

Companies have been talking about, demonstrating and buying gesture-recognition interfaces for a while now, and Qualcomm has said it expects to ship an ultrasound-based version in late 2012. (Basically, the onboard mike hears your gestures and lets you control your phone without touching your phone. Except, presumably, for the hand you’re holding the phone in… oh never mind.)

If you want to build your own, these are your new friends: This guy has very endearingly cobbled one together using a wood slat and tape, and here’s the status of homebrew 6SD as explained earlier TODAY (I love the Internet) by a member of the SixthSense Workshop group on Facebook:

Here‘s what those drawing, clock and other apps look like. And it looks like other people are thinking about it, but haven’t cooked up their own yet.

We’ve got robots cleaning our houses and the entire world’s information in our pockets and purses. I can wait a couple years to see crowds of tourists in front of the Eiffel Tower snapping photos with their fingers. But it’ll be cool.

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