Twelve years ago, Tom Cruise manipulated images in the air in a totally futuristic vision of reality. With the arrival of the innovative Displair displays, which will be marketed in Spain by Ontinet, the devices in Minority Report are no longer merely a utopian fantasy.
In 2002, Steven Spielberg directed the widely-known film Minority Report, which starred Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell. Its futuristic screenplay was based on a story by Philip K. Dick from 1956, which foretold a future in which certain people would have “precognitive abilities”.
These abilities would make it possible to stop people before they carried out a crime, significantly reducing the crime rate. But today we’re not going to focus on the plot of the film, or whether it’s possible that the brain will one day develop these abilities.
One of the futuristic tools in Minority Report was based on the use of a series of peculiar “air touchscreens”. In several scenes in the film, Tom Cruise manipulates images suspended in “nothingness”. Could this ever be possible?
At a TEDx conference held in 2010, John Underkoffler (who worked as a scientific consultant for the film) demonstrated that it was feasible to construct these air touchscreens. And as is normally the case, reality has surpassed science fiction.
Also in 2010, Maxim Kamanin presented the first prototype of Displair displays, a technological advance that imitated the devices used in Minority Report. It functioned similar to a hologram, despite the fact that its structure was relatively simple.
Displair displays include a projector that can generate images on a curtain formed by tiny water droplets. The system also includes an infrared camera that detects our movements to know when we are “touching” the different projected images.
It is very simple to use, because we can interact with the projected images with our fingers, as if it were a touch-sensitive device. The difference is that the structure of these Displair displays is made up by simple water droplets.
Displair will be released in Spain by Ontinet, a technology company headquartered in Valencia. Its arrival in Spain will have a significant impact in different industries, which include advertising, tourism and airports, according to Matías Zublena, Ontinet’s COO.
The revolution in visual technology has gone from utopia to reality. Twelve years after Spielberg’s film, it now appears that Displair displays are no longer a futuristic option and are yet another innovative technological gadget.
Images | Minority Report (Wikimedia)