If you’ve seen the movie The Avengers, you’re almost certainly mystified by the computers featured within the film: transparent glass, superimposed scientific graphing, multitouch gestures that can move an image from a hybrid mobile computer to several stationary networked screens, etc. But how far off is this technology from being mainstream? Let’s have a look.
The Two Contenders
Apple’s iOS/PAN technology is a primary route to making this technology a reality due to its “Walled Garden” approach to forcing apps to conform, allowing them to be more easily manipulated into being display-able on future transparent surfaces like the screens displayed in the film.
Furthermore, Apple’s PAN technology already shows the ability for a mobile device to join a network with a Wi-Fi connected Apple TV and display media on it – though this is currently limited to media and not real time app UIs rendering remotely on separate displays wirelessly.
But the infrastructure is there networking-wise, and all Apple has to do is bridge a few intermediate gaps that are fairly trivial – interestingly enough though, Microsoft Surface is the opposite with respect to Apple tech with regards to approaching Avengers computing.
Microsoft Surface has demonstrated apps being rendered on displays, some transparent, just like in the film – and may very well have been the actual pre-rendered software’s platform in the film.
Extending Microsoft Surface to integrate with tablet hybrids a la the Stark tower scene where Iron Man is briefed near the beginning of the film (he drags an app UI apart and it renders several windows on separate displays hanging around his living area) is the only key needed for this to become a reality, and Metro’s interface already has the theming capability to look hacker-ish like the film’s UIs.
So the age of cool computing is well upon us, and the keys are there. What do you think? Would you use tech like this and do you see this becoming a common reality soon or know something about the film I don’t? Comment and tell all!
Stephen, another Coffee Desk pal, is a recent Computer Science graduate. With endless research into Computer Science and its many aspects (even P=NP), he is a formidable if less frequent member of the editing staff. He currently works with Java technology, namely bridging the gap between .NET CIL and Java's JVM - and that's just his past time. He is the only member of the SiN editorial staff that does not reside in the Eastern time zone.
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