Spielberg’s Tech Advisor transforming sci-fi into real technology

By : |April 29, 2016 0

John Underkoffler worked as Steven Spielberg’s technology advisor on the 2002 tech-noir thriller Minority Report and completely transformed the way we imagined interacting with information in the future.it was pure future forecast.

Underkoffler’s reputation as a technology visionary scored him his next Hollywood stint a few years later, namely for the Iron Man movies. As Robert Downey Jr., who plays protagonist Tony Stark, explained to Fortune magazine:

“I was looking to Under­koffler for straight technology [advice]. […] If Tony had designed his own software and his own programs and the machinery to operate them, what sort of language would he design to be able to manipulate his environment? And over the course of all these movies, that’s been as much a part of Tony’s character as anything else.”



Underkoffler is now getting out of the reel world to turn these groundbreaking ideas into actual and real products.As the founder and CEO of Oblong Industries, John is using the expertise that recently won him a National Design Award to remodel the way we interact with meeting spaces in the digital age.

Mezzanine is an interactive computer similar to the one seen in Minority Report, which seamlessly combines hand gestures and space to offer an intuitive, immersive experience.

In John’s words, it is “a collaborative computer that lets multiple people reach in and work with the pixels in parallel, all at the same time – not serially, not by passing the ball, not waiting for permission, but by everyone using one pixel space, just the same way you’d use a whiteboard. The physical universe doesn’t stop two people from using a whiteboard at the same time – that’s nonsensical. Mezzanine is a huge pixel landscape that activates all of the surfaces in the room. It paints most of them as pixels and lets multiple people use them at the same time.”

This one piece will surely not only revolutionize the way meetings are held, but ultimately the way we engage with technology.

Of course, Underkoffler agrees. As he told Creative Social,“To imagine that an environment like [the Mezzanine] would only be available in the workplace makes me want to weep. If you work all day in this environment — you’re throwing ideas around and bringing up applications and data sources and connecting together with people you’re working with or playing with across big distances — and then you have to go home to your extremely stupid display device, that’s really frustrating.

“So there’s no reason at all that in 2, 3, 5 years you won’t have this at home; we’re going to bring it to you”.

We are waiting, Sir.

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