Pranav Mistry is, currently, pursuing his PhD at MIT, and simultaneously working as a Research Assistant at the MIT Media Lab
(Mistry, 2010). He is the mastermind behind the SixthSense prototype. SixthSense is made up of different parts. Mistry took most of these parts from other useless devices available to him. It is made up of a pocket projector, a mirror and a camera. These are all put together so that the mobile device can be worn around the neck. The projector, mirror, and camera are all connected to the mobile computing device. This device is placed in the user’s pocket so that he can access it easily. The projector projects visual information on any solid surface like tables, walls, t-shirts, and even on human body parts. The camera not only recognizes, but also registers the user’s physical hand movements using computer vision based technology. For the camera to recognize these hand gestures the user is asked to wear “marker caps,” known as the visual tracking fiducials, on the tips of his fingers (Mistry, 2010). Physical movements made by “marker caps” can be recognized by the camera just like a laptop or a wireless device recognizes the wireless internet signal.
Potential Benefits and Advantages
SixthSense has a user guide that can be used very simply. Some of important gestures that people can learn easily are like taking a picture or making a phone call or trying to know the time. In order to snap a picture, the user has to make a rectangle in the air with their fingers as if they are snapping a picture. The picture will be taken and it will be placed in the memory card of the device. Whenever the user wants to edit the picture, they can always access the picture. A person can resize and edit it by making few finger motions on the projected screen on any hard surface. A phone call, using the SixthSense, can be made so easily. All a person needs to do is to touch digital keys on one’s palm or whichever surface he decides to project. If the user wants to check the time, all they have to do is gesture a circle on the user’s wrist. The SixthSense will recognize the movement and project an analog clock on to the wrist (Mistry, 2010).
There are also many special features in addition to recognizing our physical movements. SixthSense can scan a book you want to read and it can present you detailed reviews, ratings and even summaries of that same book. Not only a book, it can recognize a newspaper, a magazine. While Pranav Mistry presented his SixthSense, he did an experiment using a newspaper. While he scanned a picture from the news paper, the SixthSense pulled up a video online about the same news that is published in the newspaper. This device comes in handy and can used very easily by all the people because it uses hand gestures which everyone actually uses in everyday life.
Apart from the features mentioned above, SixthSense can also be a great substitute for a laptop or a computer. Checking email, web browsing, other programs like Microsoft word, adobe are also included in this device. For instance, when a user wants to check his email, he needs switch on the projector and write “@” with his fingers. The camera quickly recognizes and presents the user with different email options he can use (TED, 2009).
Benefits which we get by using the SixthSense also include many other things like playing games to writing accounts. Pranav made a clip like object by using a microphone from the webcam. When you attach that clip to the project and clip to a paper, you can draw on the paper with your fingers and it can calculate and give you the information of that graph or 3d you drew. When you want to play a game, the same clip produces sound outward and we can hear all the noises of any particular game or even watch a movie with just a paper and the SixthSense device (TED, 2009)
Concerns, Issues and Disadvantages
The product is not yet released into the market. There are no legal obligations as of now, because there are some modifications still being made on the product itself. However, there are some security concerns about this product. New inventions in information technology have some kind of security concerns. For example when a person is taking a picture using the SixthSense, he just snaps with his fingers which have little marker caps on them. People don’t want to be captured on a camera of a random person. One can never tell when SixthSense is taking a picture, because it is not a big object and nothing is being help in your hand in order to take a picture like a camera or a phone. This is invading other’s privacy which can be a huge problem.
Some of the health issues are regarding SixthSense’s projection technology. When the device is projecting on a hard surface, it is not private enough for just the user. People around him can see the projection since it is very detailed. Projection is better in the night time and dark areas rather than mornings and bright areas. This is an issue because the vision of the user can be damaged when using this instrument. SixthSense should be able to shift its projection techniques during different times of the day. That way it won’t be an issue for the vision of the user. Since the device is still being modified and tested, Mistry can try to overcome issues with projection.
Concerns about the pricing of this device are also rising among the people. Mistry announced that the present device is costing about $350 for each, on his website (Mistry, 2010). This information was updated in 2009, but ever since then there is not news about this device. Mistry is working on many other technologies and inventions, but the world doesn’t know whether the work on this device is stopped (Doherty, 2009). Turns out that this is the most important ethical issue. People and the manufactures who are ready to have this product out in market do not know when this will be out. Pranav Mistry said, “This prototype needs some serious engineering and programming.” Everyone is waiting hoping that this will be available in market once all the modifications are done (Boyd, 2009).
Mistry, P. (n.d.). SixthSense - a wearable gestural interface (MIT Media Lab). Pranav Mistry. Retrieved October 5, 2011, from http://www.pranavmistry.com/projects/sixthsense/
Gavin Doherty,  David Coyle, and  Mark Matthews, “Design and Mental Health Guidelines for Mental Health Technologies,” Interacting with Computers 22, no. 4 (July 2010): 243–252,
Mistry, P. (Director) (2009, November 18). SixthSense. TEDIndia2009. Lecture conducted from TED, India.
Pratt, M. K. (2009, March 16). Future shock: The PC of 2019 - Computerworld. Computerworld - IT news, features, blogs, tech reviews, career advice. Retrieved October 1, 2011, from