So if you have been watching television lately, you have probably seen Paramount Pictures’ (News - Alert) promotion of the latest installment of the Mission Impossible movie franchise starring Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, scheduled for release December 21, 2011. If you have been paying attention to the trailer, there is a scene where, during a car chase, a virtual computer screen is created on Cruise’s character’s windshield. Talk about distracted driving.
Putting aside for the moment the fantasy involved with such capabilities and all of the other high-tech toys that will play a prominent role in this pic, but in line with the movie’s tag (News - Alert) line “RETHINK THE IMPOSSIBLE,” it is worth taking a look at a video of Canadian-based intuitive interface leaders EXOpc. The company is giving folks a first look at a new device that will be out sometime in 2012 that, at a projected price of $1,299, could redefine the way we think of desktop computing. It really will be about using your entire desktop, leveraging virtualization and the latest and greatest in touch-sensitive user interfaces.
In line with its history of working on Windows 7 devices, the tabletop EXOpc proves that rethinking the impossible is not just possible but practical. As the item on Mashable.com where I first saw the video correctly points out, “surface” computing as originally championed by Microsoft itself under the name Microsoft Surface and also by Samsung (News - Alert) (the SUR 40) has been around for several years. However, it has been very costly and such systems have been relegated for use in niche markets such as hospitals and casinos. In fact, Microsoft (News - Alert) introduced a less costly, if you call the now slashed price of $8,999 a bargain, Microsoft Surface 2.0 at this past year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
It is the price, given what seems to be extraordinary capabilities, that could make the EXOpc a game changer, i.e., ready for the mass market. But it isn’t just the tabletop where this could play. The late Steve Jobs laments in the newly published biography by Walter Isaacson about his unfinished vision of totally remaking the user experience of interacting with one’s television. If you think about the possibilities of combining the EXOpc capabilities with the powers of gesture-based interactive gaming systems, it is easy to rethink why in the future we will need remote controls.
I will close with a plea. “DEAR EXOpc, please let me be one of the testers of this product! I promise not to break it and to provide objective feedback.” I can’t wait to watch Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol on one of these; add holography and all of a sudden we have the 3D chess game from the first Star Wars movie. Anything it seems is not only possible but probable.
Peter Bernstein is a technology industry veteran, having worked in multiple capacities with several of the industry's biggest brands, including Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Telcordia (News - Alert), HP, Siemens, Nortel, France Telecom, and others, and having served on the Advisory Boards of 15 technology startups. To read more of Peter's work, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves