Space, Time, Plurality: An Overdue Machine Revolution

Oblong’s CEO, John Underkoffler, has been asked to take part in the influential (and sold out) technology conference, Web Summit  held in Dublin, November 4-6, 2014.

Underkoffler will be appearing twice, first on the Machine Stage at 10:45am on November 4th, with a keynote speech entitled ‘Space, Time, Plurality: An Overdue Machine Revolution,’ and then again at 11.45am on the Main Stage taking part in the panel discussion, ‘The Role of Technology in Film-making’.

In his keynote, Underkoffler will argue that the world is overdue for a paradigm shift in human-computer interface. Technology exists today to transform spaces into computational environments and provide an opportunity for one’s pixel-reach to extend beyond the boundaries of one’s desktop, laptop, or mobile device into the immediate environment. As iOS and Android have evolved screen interaction beyond mouse and keyboard, so too are we ready to experience multi-screen interaction that is spatially-aware and gesture-enabled.

Following the keynote, Underkoffler will be joining a panel of other great minds to discuss ‘The Role of Technology’ in filmmaking. As the science advisor to films including Minority Report, The Hulk (A.Lee), Aeon Flux, and Iron Man, John is well versed is the integration of technology into films.

If the talk is posted online we’ll be sure to share it. In the meantime, find the full Web Summit agenda is here.

Working with Watson

The goal of each Watson Experience Center—located in New York, San Francisco, and Cambridge—is to demystify AI and challenge visitor’s expectations through more tangible demonstrations of Watson technology. Visitors are guided through a series of narratives and data interfaces, each grounded in IBM’s current capabilities in machine learning and AI. These sit alongside a host of Mezzanine rooms where participants further collaborate to build solutions together.

The process for creating each experience begins with dynamic, collaborative research. Subject matter experts take members of the design and engineering teams through real-world scenarios—disaster response, financial crimes investigation, oil and gas management, product research, world news analysis—where we identify and test applicable data sets. From there, we move our ideas quickly to scale.

Accessibility to the immersive pixel canvas for everyone involved is key to the process. Designers must be able to see their ideas outside of the confines of 15″ laptops and prescriptive software. Utilizing tools tuned for rapid iteration at scale, our capable team of designers, data artists, and engineers work side-by-side to envision and define each experience. The result is more than a polished marketing narrative; it's an active interface that allows the exploration of data with accurate demonstrations of Watson’s capabilities—one that customers can see themselves in.

Under the Hood

Underlying the digital canvas is a robust spatial operating environment, g‑speak, which allows our team to position real data in a true spatial context. Every data point within the system, and even the UI itself, is defined in real world coordinates (measured in millimeters, not pixels). Gestures, directional pointing, and proximity to screens help us create interfaces that more closely understand user intent and more effectively humanize the UI.

This award-nominated collaboration with IBM is prototyped and developed at scale at Oblong’s headquarters in Los Angeles as well as IBM’s Immersive AI Lab in Austin. While these spaces are typically invite-only, IBM is increasingly open to sharing the content and the unique design ideas that drive its success with the public. This November, during Austin Design Week, IBM will host a tour of their Watson Immersive AI Lab, including live demonstrations of the work and a Q&A session with leaders from the creative team.

Can't make it to Austin? Contact our Solutions team for a glimpse of our vision of the future at our headquarters in the Arts District in Los Angeles.

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