Join gaming leaders, alongside GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming, for their 2nd Annual GamesBeat & Facebook Gaming Summit | GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2 this upcoming January 25-27, 2022. Learn more about the event. 

At the big-think, big-demo TED conference in Long Beach last week, MIT Media Lab alumnus John Underkoffler demonstrated a real working version of the memorable grab-it-and-throw-it computer interface he designed for Tom Cruise in the hit science fiction movie Minority Report.

One reason Cruise’s gesture-based interface was so striking was that it was based on Underkoffler’s serious deep-end work in user interfaces. The g-speak Spatial Operating Environment requires gloves much like the ones Cruise wore as Precrime murder-prevention officer John Anderton.

g-speak’s website is hard to follow if you don’t already work in the field. Here’s my edit of their description of what the Spatial Operating Environment does, and why it’s useful:

Modern computers have high-definition, large-display graphical output. By contrast, the old mouse and keyboard are very narrow channels for input by humans.

Gestural input and output lets humans input data and commands to a computer system at a much higher rate than a keyboard and mouse ever could.

Where does gestural input win big over a mouse? Gestural input is measurably more efficient at performing complex navigation, sorting and selection tasks.

(Notice they didn’t say it’s faster at letting you compose a message than a QWERTY keyboard. Better speech recognition will probably be the solution for high-speed word input.)

Every graphical and input object in a g-speak environment has real-world spatial identity and position. Anything on-screen can be manipulated directly. For a g-speak user, “pointing” is literal. You reach out with the special gloves and point at, or touch, or grab, or manipulate objects visible in the display.

g-speak is designed to work on all kinds of displays. Wall-sized 3D screens can co-exist with desktop monitors, table-top screens and hand-held devices. Every display can be used simultaneously. g-speak moves data selectively to the displays that are most appropriate.

If you think gesture controls are hot, don’t miss Damian Rollison’s giant VentureBeat post on 16 companies building gesture-control tech.


The 2nd Annual GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming Summit and GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2

January 25 – 27, 2022

Learn More

[Photo: TED/James Duncan Davidson via The New York Times]


GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties
Become a member