Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Future tech - Mass Effect's omni-tool in real life

Sci-fi, be it in novels, games or some other art form, has been remarkable at predicting future technology which once-upon-a-time seemed completely impossible. Here's one which might not be as far off as you might think.

The arm controller thingy
Ok, so the name I've given it isn't great, and assuming Apple don't fall from their pinnacle with the loss of Steve Jobs we might witnessing the release of the iArm.

For this blog we'll call it the omni-tool; the piece of kit which is used repeatedly in the game Mass Effect. These devices are a computer microframe packed with holographic display, sensor analysis system, the ability to modify remote equipment, and the latest version of Powerpoint. Well, perhaps not Powerpoint but you get the idea. If that sounds familiar that's because smart-phones are practically just as functional for the needs of yourself, member of the public.

A further benefit is that the omni-tool makes you look badass. Hood not included.

What makes it so nifty in Mass Effect is that holographic projection of the display. Now even though almost everyone by now knows that 3D is a declining fad and should probably be kept away from smart-phones and TVs, it could be a substitute for the hologram. What would be necessary to include would be a hand and finger recognition system - akin to a miniaturised Kinect - allowing you to interact with the 3D display rather than jabbing your fingers on the screen like its 1999. Throw in the rapidly developing voice recognition software and the iAr- I mean omni-tool isn't quite as obscure as you first thought.

So when it comes down to it, our equivalent of the omni-tool is simply a smart phone attached to your arm. If the idea is peculiar to you, consider how the pocket watch was transformed with the simple addition of the strap. Given the increasing reliance on smart-phone technology having the device strapped to your arm might actually be more convenient than fishing it out from your pocket. Wirelessly controlling mentioned Powerpoint, transferring money across device accounts, playing angry birds: you name it; all achieved with greater access.
You'll just have to be patient with people while they make some calibrations.

Thoughts? Don't forget to like or comment.

1 comment:

  1. Well put. I've been considering what kind of energy source would be required to create a holographic user-interface that someone could physically affect, but could still be as compact as a vambrace-style device. I hadn't even considered using 3D tech to create the illusion of projection instead of actually projecting the interface, which I feel like I should have now but, like you said, it's kind of a declining fad.

    Unfortunately, the down side to that is the idea of needing a medium to create the illusion of a projection vs depth (such as 3D glasses). I don't know about you, but I really don't want to wear 3D glasses whenever I want to interact with my Omni-Tool, I feel like it would detract from the convenience... I also don't want to look like one of those guys who puts pictures of himself on social media wearing movie theater 3D glasses. That would be too much to tolerate.