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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Oblong Dazzles More Than Just Me

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If you are a long time reader of this blog, you know that I’m a huge believer that the way we interact with computers in 20 years will be radically different than how we interact with them today.  I’ve put my money where my mouth is as Foundry Group has invested in a number of companies around human computer interaction, including Oblong.

For the past few years, every time someone talks about next generation user interfaces, a reference to the movie Minority Report pops up.  Sometimes the writer gets this right and links it back to John Underkoffler, the co-founder of Oblong, but many times they don’t.  Today the NY Times got it right in their article You, Too, Can Soon Be Like Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report’.

John Underkoffler, who helped create the gesture-based computer interface imagined in the film “Minority Report,” has brought that technology to real life. He gave a demonstration at the TED Conference in Long Beach, Calif., on Friday.

That’s a picture of John Underkoffler at Ted on Friday giving one of his jaw dropping demos of Oblong’s g-speak spatial operating environment.  Lest you think this is science fiction, I can assure you that Oblong has several major customers, is generating meaningful revenue, and is poised to enter several mainstream markets with g-speak derived products.

The company has been steadily building momentum over the past few years since we invested.  The TechCrunch article The iPad Is Step 1 In The Future Of Computing. This Is Step 2 (Or 3) gives you a little of the history.  More of the history is at Oblong’s post origins: arriving here that go back to 1994.  I personally have stories going back to 1984 when I first met John, but we’ll save those for another day.

While there is an amazing amount of interesting stuff suddenly going on around HCI (and we have invested in a few other companies around this), Oblong is shipping step 2 and about to ship step 3 while most are working on step 1.  As John likes to say, “the old model of one human, one machine, one mouse, one screen is passe.”

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