TED2016

Meron Gribetz: A glimpse of the future through an augmented reality headset

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What if technology could connect us more deeply with our surroundings instead of distracting us from the real world? With the Meta 2, an augmented reality headset that makes it possible for users to see, grab and move holograms just like physical objects, Meron Gribetz hopes to extend our senses through a more natural machine. Join Gribetz as he takes the TED stage to demonstrate the reality-shifting Meta 2 for the first time. (Featuring Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson)

- Founder and CEO, Meta
At Meta, Meron Gribetz is leading an effort to produce and sell augmented reality glasses with natural gestural hand recognition. Full bio

Today's computers are so amazing
00:12
that we fail to notice
how terrible they really are.
00:16
I'd like to talk to you today
about this problem,
00:21
and how we can fix it with neuroscience.
00:24
First, I'd like to take you back
to a frosty night in Harlem in 2011
00:27
that had a profound impact on me.
00:31
I was sitting in a dive bar
outside of Columbia University,
00:34
where I studied computer science
and neuroscience,
00:37
and I was having this great conversation
with a fellow student
00:40
about the power of holograms
to one day replace computers.
00:43
And just as we were getting
to the best part of the conversation,
00:47
of course, his phone lights up.
00:50
And he pulls it towards himself,
and he looks down and he starts typing.
00:52
And then he forces his eyeballs
back up to mine and he goes,
00:56
"Keep going. I'm with you."
01:00
But of course his eyes were glazed over,
01:02
and the moment was dead.
01:04
Meanwhile across the bar,
01:06
I noticed another student
holding his phone,
01:08
this time towards a group.
01:10
He was swiping through
pictures on Instagram,
01:11
and these kids were laughing hysterically.
01:14
And that dichotomy
between how crappy I was feeling
01:17
and how happy they were feeling
about the same technology,
01:20
really got me thinking.
01:23
And the more I thought of it,
the more I realized
01:24
it was clearly not the digital information
that was the bad guy here,
01:27
it was simply the display position
that was separating me from my friend
01:31
and that was binding those kids together.
01:34
See, they were connected around something,
01:37
just like our ancestors
who evolved their social cognitions
01:39
telling stories around the campfire.
01:43
And that's exactly what tools
should do, I think.
01:45
They should extend our bodies.
01:48
And I think computers today
are doing quite the opposite.
01:49
Whether you're sending
an email to your wife
01:52
or you're composing a symphony
01:55
or just consoling a friend,
01:57
you're doing it in pretty
much the same way.
01:58
You're hunched over these rectangles,
02:01
fumbling with buttons and menus
and more rectangles.
02:03
And I think this is the wrong way,
02:06
I think we can start using
a much more natural machine.
02:08
We should use machines that bring
our work back into the world.
02:12
We should use machines that use
the principles of neuroscience
02:15
to extend our senses
versus going against them.
02:18
Now it just so happens
that I have such a machine here.
02:23
It's called the Meta 2.
02:25
Let's try it out.
02:27
Now in front of me right now,
I can see the audience,
02:37
and I can see my very hands.
02:40
And in three, two, one,
02:42
we're going to see an immersive
hologram appear,
02:45
a very realistic hologram
appear in front of me,
02:47
of our very glasses I'm wearing
on my head right now.
02:50
And of course this could be
anything that we're shopping for
02:52
or learning from,
02:55
and I can use my hands
02:56
to very nicely kind of move
it around with fine control.
02:58
And I think Iron Man would be proud.
03:02
We're going to come back
to this in just a bit.
03:06
(Applause)
03:09
Now if you're anything like me,
your mind is already reeling
03:11
with the possibilities of what we can do
with this kind of technology,
03:14
so let's look at a few.
03:18
My mom is an architect,
03:19
so naturally the first thing I imagined
03:20
was laying out a building in 3D space
03:22
instead of having to use
these 2D floor plans.
03:24
She's actually touching graphics right now
03:27
and selecting an interior decor.
03:29
This was all shot through a GoPro
through our very glasses.
03:31
And this next use case
is very personal to me,
03:34
it's Professor Adam Gazzaley's
glass brain project,
03:37
courtesy of UCSF.
03:41
As a neuroscience student,
03:42
I would always fantasize
03:44
about the ability to learn and memorize
these complex brain structures
03:46
with an actual machine,
03:51
where I could touch and play
with the various brain structures.
03:52
Now what you're seeing
is called augmented reality,
03:56
but to me, it's part
of a much more important story --
03:59
a story of how we can begin
to extend our bodies with digital devices,
04:03
instead of the other way around.
04:10
Now ...
04:13
in the next few years, humanity's
going to go through a shift, I think.
04:15
We're going to start putting
an entire layer of digital information
04:18
on the real world.
04:21
Just imagine for a moment
04:23
what this could mean for storytellers,
04:25
for painters,
04:27
for brain surgeons,
04:28
for interior decorators
04:30
and maybe for all of us here today.
04:32
And what I think we need
to do as a community,
04:35
is really try and make an effort
04:37
to imagine how we can
create this new reality
04:39
in a way that extends
the human experience,
04:42
instead of gamifying our reality
04:45
or cluttering it with digital information.
04:47
And that's what I'm very passionate about.
04:49
Now, I want to tell you a little secret.
04:52
In about five years --
04:54
this is not the smallest device --
04:55
in about five years,
04:57
these are all going to look like
strips of glass on our eyes
04:58
that project holograms.
05:01
And just like we don't care so much
about which phone we buy
05:03
in terms of the hardware -- we buy it
for the operating system --
05:06
as a neuroscientist,
05:10
I always dreamt of building
the iOS of the mind, if you will.
05:11
And it's very, very important
that we get this right,
05:16
because we might be living
inside of these things
05:19
for at least as long as we've lived
05:21
with the Windows graphical user interface.
05:23
And I don't know about you,
05:25
but living inside of Windows scares me.
05:27
(Laughter)
05:29
To isolate the single most intuitive
interface out of infinity,
05:31
we use neuroscience to drive
our design guidelines,
05:35
instead of letting a bunch of designers
fight it out in the boardroom.
05:37
And the principle we all revolve around
05:41
is what's called the "Neural Path
of Least Resistance."
05:44
At every turn, we're connecting
the iOS of the brain with our brain
05:47
on, for the first time, our brain's terms.
05:51
In other words, we're trying to create
a zero learning-curve computer.
05:53
We're building a system
that you've always known how to use.
05:58
Here are the first three
design guidelines that we employ
06:01
in this brand-new form of user experience.
06:04
First and foremost,
you are the operating system.
06:07
Traditional file systems
are complex and abstract,
06:10
and they take your brain
extra steps to decode them.
06:13
We're going against the Neural Path
of Least Resistance.
06:15
Meanwhile, in augmented reality,
06:18
you can of course place
your holographic TED panel over here,
06:21
and your holographic email
on the other side of the desk,
06:26
and your spatial memory evolved just fine
to go ahead and retrieve them.
06:29
You could put your holographic Tesla
that you're shopping for --
06:35
or whatever model my legal team
told me to put in right before the show.
06:38
(Laughter)
06:42
Perfect. And your brain knows
exactly how to get it back.
06:43
The second interface guideline
we call "touch to see."
06:45
What do babies do when they see
something that grabs their interest?
06:49
They try and reach out and touch it.
06:54
And that's exactly how the natural
machine should work as well.
06:56
Turns out the visual system
gets a fundamental boost
07:00
from a sense we call proprioception --
07:02
that's the sense
of our body parts in space.
07:05
So by touching our work directly,
we're not only going to control it better,
07:07
we're also going to understand
it much more deeply.
07:11
Hence, touch to see.
07:14
But it's not enough
to experience things ourselves.
07:16
We're inherently these social primates.
07:18
And this leads me to our third guideline,
07:20
the holographic campfire
from our first story.
07:22
Our mirror-neuron subsystem suggests
07:26
that we can connect with each other
and with our work much better
07:28
if we can see each other's
faces and hands in 3D.
07:31
So if you look at the video behind me,
07:34
you can see two Meta users
playing around with the same hologram,
07:36
making eye contact,
connected around this thing,
07:41
instead of being distracted
by external devices.
07:43
Let's go ahead and try this again
with neuroscience in mind.
07:48
So again, our favorite interface,
the iOS of the mind.
07:55
I'm going to now take a step further
08:00
and go ahead and grab this pair of glasses
08:02
and leave it right here by the desk.
08:04
I'm now with you, I'm in the moment,
08:06
we're connecting.
08:08
My spatial memory kicks in,
and I can go ahead and grab it
08:09
and bring it right back here, reminding me
08:12
that I am the operating system.
08:14
And now my proprioception is working,
08:16
and I can go ahead and explode
these glasses into a thousand parts
08:18
and touch the very sensor
that is currently scanning my hand.
08:22
But it's not enough to see things alone,
08:27
so in a second, my co-founder Ray
is going to make a 3D call --
08:29
Ray?
08:32
(Ringing)
08:33
Hey Ray, how's it going?
08:35
Guys, I can see this guy
in front me in full 3D.
08:36
And he is photo-realistic.
08:40
(Applause)
08:42
Thank you.
08:43
My mirror-neuron subsystem suggests
that this is going to replace phones
08:44
in not too long.
08:49
Ray, how's it going?
08:50
Ray: Great. We're live today.
08:52
(Applause)
08:54
MG: Ray, give the crowd a gift
08:56
of the holographic brain
we saw from the video earlier.
08:58
Guys, this is not only
going to change phones,
09:01
it's also going to change
the way we collaborate.
09:03
Thank you so much.
09:06
Thanks, Ray.
09:07
Ray: You're welcome.
09:08
(Applause)
09:10
MG: So folks, this is the message
that I discovered in that bar in 2011:
09:11
The future of computers is not
locked inside one of these screens.
09:16
It's right here, inside of us.
09:20
(Applause)
09:25
So if there's one idea that I could
leave you with here today,
09:29
it's that the natural machine
is not some figment of the future,
09:32
it's right here in 2016.
09:35
Which is why all hundred of us at Meta,
09:38
including the administrative staff,
09:41
the executives,
09:42
the designers, the engineers --
09:44
before TED2017,
09:45
we're all going to be throwing
away our external monitors
09:47
and replacing them with a truly
and profoundly more natural machine.
09:51
Thank you very much.
09:56
(Applause)
09:57
Thank you, appreciate it.
10:01
Thanks, guys.
10:05
Chris Anderson: So help
me out on one thing,
10:09
because there've been a few
augmented reality demos
10:12
shown over the last year or so out there.
10:15
And there's sometimes
a debate among technologists
10:17
about, are we really seeing
the real thing on-screen?
10:20
There's this issue of field of view,
10:24
that somehow the technology
is showing a broader view
10:25
than you would actually see
wearing the glasses.
10:29
Were we seeing the real deal there?
10:32
MG: Absolutely the real deal.
10:34
Not only that,
10:36
we took extra measures to shoot it
with a GoPro through the actual lens
10:37
in the various videos
that you've seen here.
10:40
We want to try to simulate
the experience for the world
10:42
that we're actually seeing
through the glasses,
10:45
and not cut any corners.
10:47
CA: Thank you so much for showing us that.
10:48
MG: Thanks so much, I appreciate that.
10:50

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About the Speaker:

Meron Gribetz - Founder and CEO, Meta
At Meta, Meron Gribetz is leading an effort to produce and sell augmented reality glasses with natural gestural hand recognition.

Why you should listen

Meron Gribetz' first encounter with augmented reality was during his service in an elite technological unit of the Intelligence Corps. He later studied computer science and neuroscience at Columbia University, which inspired the core of Meta’s Neurointerface 3D User Interface design philosophy. On the heels of Meta's explosive start, Gribetz was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in technology.

More profile about the speaker
Meron Gribetz | Speaker | TED.com