4. Maes Technology
Dr. Maes primary research is in ways that humans can interact more efficiently with computers and technology, but also more naturally. Currently, she is working on a project for a device that allows users to maneuver the computer display by using their fingers, the device is called the 6th sense. The device contains a computer, projector, and webcam so it’s users can interact with the world in a new way. Particularly Maes is working on the computer interface that coordinates the tools to work together with the human body in ways never done before. The computer would be constantly running and using the webcam to scan and detect the user’s environment, but the computer would also be programmed to detect the user’s fingertips via the webcam as this is the main way interaction with the user and computer occurs. The tools used in the device are all simple technologies that have been used for many years, but the interaction between them and the user is very unique. Software Agents is another form of technology Mrs. Maes is continuing to research and develop. The agents are a form of artificial intelligence that “teaches itself as it goes.” Maes developed the computer algorithms that allow a device to learn versus acting on previous knowledge (Maes, 2009). Most others in this field were trying to develop artificial intelligence that was pre-programmed to act in certain ways in particular situations, but Maes thought if a program was able to recognize patterns in the user’s actions then it could automatically imitate those actions (Lambert, 2005). This technology as it took off and grew more complex was able to develop into software that performed tasks such as sorting email and responding to event invitations. Although the technology may seem simple in it’s development stage it could grow into technology that’s capable of creating a robot who could perform human activities.