Oblong Mezzanine

It feels like this should be filed under future, or perhaps under alternate realities, but instead it’s the present – right now and available today… Oblong’s Mezzanine.

For years Oblong has been a fascinating company– doing super-innovative research into gestural interfaces. From their movie UI work, to conceptual demos, and even their vaguely mysterious (perhaps secret?) custom solutions — thir g-speak framework has been the foundation for a whole new category of interactions.

So it’s fantastic to see they’ve actually launched a product based on all this. Mezzanine is a “collaboration, whiteboarding, and presentation system whose triptych of high-definition displays forms a shared workspace.”

Their demo video shows just how broad a system Mezzanine is, and what a wide range of use-cases it can handle. Users all have access to a single shared workspace; and can display documents, access remote apps, even connect to the system from just about any mobile device.

To make the system more affordable they’re no longer using data gloves and cameras to recognize user gestures — instead they’ve got a special wand that lets users manipulate what’s on the displays. Based on how you rotate it, the wand gives access to three core functionalities: to manipulate assets in the workspace, to reach through to drive connected laptops, and snapshot to create new assets. A fairly simple set of basics that gives access to a lot of possibilities.

In an interesting article/review of the system in TechCrunch, John Underkoffler, Oblong’s chief scientist, describes one of Mezzanine’s intents: “We’re building the UI to emit a virtuosic performance.” A beautiful idea, and one that will hopefully lead to a revolution in how we think about meetings.