MUNCIE, IN - Dale Herigstad, the chief creative officer of WPP's Schematic unit, may best be known as the consultant who came up with the hand gesture interface used by Tom Cruise's character in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Philip K. Dick's "Minority Report."
This morning, Herigstad told a group of digital gurus and artists gathered here that the concept is far from science fiction, and that he is close to introducing a new TV remote control system based on it.
"We're already building for some cable companies something that does this," Herigstad told a roomful of digital media academics, artists and technologists attending the International Digital Media Arts Association's iDMAa '09 conference taking place on the campus of Ball State University this week.
Herigstad said he could not disclose which companies he was working with, but said it was likely that the new interface, in which viewers would control their TV screens simply by motioning their hand in front of it, would be deployed within the next year.
Herigstad even showed the audience a bit of a prototype of the new interface, using a computer-generated animation of a hand remotely controlling a TV screen by simply waving up, down, sideways, etc.
Unlike current generations of gesture-based devices such as Nintendo's Wii, Herigstad said the new interface would not require "big, sweeping" gestures, but would operate television via simple hand motions.
He said he preferred this method to the wildly popular "touch" and "touch gesture"-based interfaces that have exploded ever since Apple introduced the Touch iPod and iPhone to the marketplace.
That's a little ironic, because Herigstad's company recently launched Schematic Touch, a division that was created to capitalize on the interest from advertisers, marketers and content companies looking to adapt and exploit the new consumer interface.
In his work for Schematic clients, such as Accenture, Herigstad has already designed a number of breakthrough public touch-based screens, and a Schematic designed touch-sensitive digital billboard was all the rage at the ad industry Cannes Festival in France this year.
Still, Herigstad told the iDMAa 09 attendees that he believes the future of media interface is not touch, but simple gestures.
"I'm a big fan of the gesture, where you cannot touch the screen," he said, alluding to his "Minority Report" breakthrough, which "comes out of the future where you can navigate with your hands."