The Spatial Operating Environment
Oblong Industries is the developer of the g-speak spatial operating environment.
The SOE’s combination of gestural i/o, recombinant networking, and real-world pixels offers the first major step in computer interface since 1984.
Oblong helps clients deploy SOE-based solutions to real-world problems, including:
- analysis of large data sets
- operation of three-dimensional interfaces
- construction of efficient multi-user collaborative applications
- integration of large screens and multiple computers into
room- and building-scale work environments
- development of large-scale applications that run interactively
across enterprise networks
Architecture of the g-speak SOE
Oblong offers g-speak as a software platform suitable for licensing
and embedding. Turnkey systems built on top of g-speak are also
available, as is custom development support, both from Oblong directly
and from integration partners.
The g-speak platform provides three core functional components:
- Gestural I/O
Hi-fi input for HD output
The g-speak platform is built around free-hand, three-space
gestural input. Applications are controlled by hand poses,
movement and pointing. Finger and hand motion are tracked to 0.1mm
at 100 hz; pointing is pixel-accurate. Two-handed and multi-user
input are fully supported.
Gestural I/O removes the imbalance between high-definition
graphical output available from modern computers and the narrow
input channel of the mouse and keyboard. Gestural input is
measurably more efficient at performing complex navigation,
sorting and selection tasks. A full library of components
providing UI building blocks makes it easy for application
programmers to take advantage of gestural benefits.
The g-speak input framework provides for mouse and keyboard use,
too. Applications built to take advantage of gestural I/O also
make use of legacy input devices when appropriate.
- Recombinant Networking
Structured coordination and data interchange
SOE applications process large data sets and support multi-person
work-flows. The g-speak networking framework provides a collection
of core library components that allow applications to scale
transparently and dynamically across clusters of machines.
This transparent scalability offers three major benefits:
effective use of cpu power in a LAN environment; built-in support
for applications that enable collaborative work across the
network; and the ability to add functionality to applications at
run-time by adding new code, new machines, new screens and new
people to a work context.
The recombinant networking framework also provides a set of tools
for integrating legacy applications into a g-speak
environment. Existing code bases automatically benefit from
network transparency and limited gestural input. A low-overhead
legacy extension architecture makes it possible to build support
for full gestural I/O and spatial semantics with very little new
- Real-world Pixels
Spatial semantics at the platform level
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
The g-speak implementation of spatial semantics provides
application programmers with a single, ready-made solution to the
interlocking problems of supporting multiple screens and multiple
users. It also makes control of real-world objects (vehicles,
robotic devices) trivial and allows tangible interfaces and
customized physical tools to be used for input.
The g-speak platform is display agnostic. Wall-sized projection
screens co-exist with desktop monitors, table-top screens and
hand-held devices. Every display can be used simultaneously and
data moves selectively to the displays that are most
appropriate. Three-dimensional displays can be used, too, without
modification to application code.
The g-speak platform is in use today at Fortune 50 companies,
government agencies and universities. Application areas include:
- Financial services
- Network operations centers
- Logistics and supply chain management
- Military and intelligence
- Natural resource exploration
- Data mining and analytics
- Medical imaging
- High-touch retail
- Trade shows and theatrical presentations
- Consumer electronics interfaces
Oblong delivers room-sized and single-user g-speak environments as
A software development kit that runs on both Linux and Mac OS X is
available. Applications are source-compatible across both operating
systems and can run on ordinary desktop and laptop computers in
addition to gesturally-equipped g-speak machines and clusters.
Oblong also works closely with partners to develop and deliver
applications and integrated solutions.
If you are interested in g-speak products, applications or
partnerships, please contact us.