the BiDi Screen created by Media Lab researchers

The BiDi Screen created by Media Lab researchers.

The latest issue of Quick Take, in case you haven’t read it yet, celebrates MIT advancements that could transform the future of communications, gadgets, transportation, construction, and computing.

In the computing category, for example, the BiDi Screen created by Media Lab researchers turns LCD displays into giant lensless cameras that can both capture images and display them and allow users to control on-screen objects with hand gestures.

Since Quick Take’s publication, gestural interfaces have been attracting a lot of media buzz. Alumnus John Underkoffler ’88, SM ’91, PhD ’99 demonstrated the g-speak Spatial Operating Environment (SOE) at last week’s TED conference in California (see video of it in action below). The idea behind the technology can be seen in the 2002 film Minority Report, for which Underkoffler served as a science advisor. He based the movie’s technology on his earlier work in the Media Lab. Several MIT alumni, who all work for Oblong Industries, were instrumental in creating the SOE.

Of course, other noteworthy MIT innovations have cropped up as well recently. One is in the new field of network coding. MIT researchers discovered that communications networks could be made more efficient—that is, Internet file sharing faster, streaming video more reliable, and cell-phone reception better—by randomly combining data at routers. Read the two-part article about MIT’s contributions to making the most of a network’s bandwidth.

What other inventions and innovations are on the horizon? Here’s a peek: shotgun-riding robots, radiation-resistant steel alloys, redesigned silicon transistors, and computational photography. Read Quick Take: Future to find out more.

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