Pranav Mistry is an Indian engineer with a mission - to completely collapse the boundaries separating the digital and analogue worlds in order to fully augment and enhance our experience of reality. Watch this video - it should blow the lids of your minds. A few months ago I had seen his boss at MIT introduce the concepts of Sixth Sense Technology and, while she did a great job - see here (2.40 mins into video) - was more specific about applications, and concentrated on ones that are the most practical and achievable now, this presentation really conveys the power of this integration and the ensuing possibilities.
In the same way that iphone users take for granted that they can pinch their screen to re-size its content (an invention that is barely two years old and created gasps of wonder at TED in August 2006 when Jeff Han illustrated it the first time), such wondrous technologies will be our hands sooner than we might expect. The concept of Augmented Reality is fast becoming "the next big thing" with companies like Layer presenting digital content through the wifi connected viewfinders of our digital cameras.
But it's Mistry's heart that makes him a genius innovator - not just his brilliant mind. The real gem emerges at the end of his video when he announces that, instead of rushing to the patent office, he plans to provide the software behind his inventions to the broader community and crowdsource the development of applications. The hardware is dirt cheap to manufacture and assemble. We've seen what happened when Apple opened up the iphone API's so imagine what Mistry's peers around the world will do with this and how it might enhance so many people's lives (he's already thinking of applications for persons with disabilities)
The mantra for the 21st century is that coined by dear friend Leon Benjamin, Winning By Sharing. And it was the spirit of sharing that lead me to Pranav's latest video - Shelly Kuipers of the Calgary-based company, Chaordix, that helps business use crowdsourcing, linked me to this on her company blog. If you're not sure about crowdsourcing, learn all about it on the Chaordix webinar;
If the internet killed distance, this family of inventions will link the mobile, analogue personal body not just with rich encyclopedic content but with all our senses, movements and gestures. The information exchange will be two way and nothing will be the same again....What a way to end the week......Just imagine.........
If as I've been saying for as long as I can remember that two-thirds of the visitor experience is in their heads and virtual (existing either as fantasies or memories), then Mr. Mistry and his associates are going to be a real source of relevance help to the tourism community.