If the new studio at Fox News, with its big-ass touchscreens, looks a little bit like Minority Report, that’s because it’s just like Minority Report.
Oblong, the same company that helped create the technological interfaces seen in the futuristic movie, outfitted the new studio with a product called Mezzanine, powered by G-Speak, allowing Shepard Smith to drag and drop videos on a wall like he’s directing an orchestra.
John Underkoffler, Chief Scientist at Oblong, confirmed Fox News’ use of the Mezzanine product to TechCrunch, calling “the whole undertaking a laudably ambitious undertaking on the part of Fox News.”
Mezzanine is a product created by Oblong Industries meant to be a conference room technology, letting users control and manipulate every pixel in the room, from the massive screens in the Fox News studio to the wifi-connected iPhones, iPads and laptops in the room. With the wand, the same one you see Shepard Smith waving around in the video, you can drag and drop info, zoom, manipulate, and edit information as you go.
“Fox News Deck installation is the most publicly visible (permanent) deployment of Oblong’s technology in general, and of the Mezzanine product in particular, to date,” said Underkoffler.
MG Siegler, who’s used the technology before, calls it the future of computing and refers to the Mezzanine Wand as a WiiMote on steroids.
But Mezzanine isn’t the end product. Underkoffler, speaking at TC Italy less than a month ago, explained that Oblong wants to give a soul to your devices and to the interface. G-Speak, the spatial operating system behind all of Oblong’s products, is the path towards that soul.
For now, Mezzanine requires a wand, but eventually technology that can already sense gloves and hands will be commodotized, and G-Speak will power a new generation of hand-waving computer conductors. Knowing that, it’s clear that Shepard Smith’s 38-foot video wall is far cooler than the giant touchscreens filling up the Fox News studio.
Here’s a look at MG’s video from a while back: