Feature     Human-centered computing: anytime, everywhere

Waiting to exhale: Project Oxygen makes computing transparent and plentiful, and as easy as breathing

Pose Tracking
Research: Trevor Darrell,
Vision Interface Project, AI Lab
Pictured: David Demirdjian
Photo by Sam Ogden

Article from the Boston Globe

MIT news release

Project Oxygen website



For over forty years, computing has centered around machines, not people, say researchers at Project Oxygen, a collaboration between MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab working to create a new paradigm for human-computer interaction. Also, they note, computers have required us to interact with them on their terms, speaking their languages and manipulating their keyboards or mice.

Project Oxygen intends to change that by using the industry's computing advances (smaller, cheaper, more powerful) to serve people, rather than the other way around. "In five to ten years, in developed countries, computing and communications are essentially going to be free, pervasive, everywhere," says Victor Zue, director of LCS.

Instead of carrying around an increasing array of gadgets, you will carry at most a single, wireless, Oxygen-enabled handheld. Using voice and gesture input, you will be able to talk to your computer as if it were another person.

Oxygen-enabled devices will network together to identify you, call up your address book, give you directions to the nearest ATM, or play your voice mail each time you enter your office. Location/navigation devices will enable mobile devices to locate themselves and nearby resources.

All this is not as far away as it may seem. Oxygen is collaborating with industry partners to transform these far-reaching goals into real products with near-term impact. It leaves one breathless with anticipation.


mit Massachusetts Institute of Technology, August 2002