A while back I wrote a post on the death of the computer chain store, and I speculated a bit on where the PC was going:
The PC business is definitely going through a transition. Somehow I think the future of the PC is your mobile phone…or maybe your TV. It will practically disappear. In some ways this makes sense, but until the I/O interface is figured out so that people can actually use it in a sophisticated way the prospect makes me cringe.
I remember thinking about how the “mobile phone” would take over the PC’s functions. I wish I had written this in my article, because it’s less credible for me to talk about this now. I honestly did think about this at the time. What came to mind was “projection”, that the small computer you would wear would somehow project a screen onto a surface (so that we wouldn’t have to deal with the small screens on mobile phones), detect your finger movements for manipulating objects on the screen (in place of a mouse), and it would project a keyboard onto a surface so that you could type on a keyboard “anywhere”. You wouldn’t have to carry a physical keyboard with you. It would detect all this through one or more cameras. I thought of the “computer you wear” as the phone you carry with you. Well, a young engineer at MIT, Pranav Mistry, came up with such a thing. Only it looks more like a necklace. He calls it “Sixth Sense” (h/t to Tammy Bruce). I’m not taking credit. Obviously thinking of it and implementing it are very different. Implementation takes more skill and effort. Take a look:
Mistry takes it farther than what I had thought of, integrating physical objects and media into the digital world, and vice-versa. It is a further optimization of the idea of computing = digital media, though my hat’s off to Mistry for doing it in a very innovative way that gets us beyond having to use armatures to manipulate digital stuff. Now if we could just integrate programming into this new idiom somehow… Hmmm. Some new ideas are percolating up…