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Monday, September 26, 2005

'Minority Report' spawns two companies

From my Boston Globe column today, "From sci-fi effects, real potential."

This is the story of how John Underkoffler, a former researcher at MIT's Media Lab, happened to get wrapped up in the production of "Minority Report" when that movie's production designer visited the Lab in 2000. Underkoffler had built a demo showing how computers might be controlled by hand gestures...and two years later, Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell were doing just that in the Spielberg movie.

Now, Underkoffler has a consulting firm called Treadle & Loam Provisioners, which works with TV and film producers, and he is also developing the "Minority Report" technology for customers like Raytheon, the giant defense contractor.

That second company he started is called G-Speak. You may have seen them in the Vicon booth at last month's SIGGRAPH show in LA. There's a bit more background on their Web site.