Some of the memorable scenes from Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller Minority Report involve the actor Tom Cruise facing a large transparent computer screen and manipulating images and data at a distance with his gloved hands. The scene is set in 2054 but the technology is here today. It was developed by Oblong Industries, a Los Angeles maker of gesture-based operating systems.
GE is a customer and investor in Oblong, whose technology has roots in research done at the MIT Media Lab. Last week GE said that it invested in the technology company through Energy Technology Ventures (ETV), a GE partnership with NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips. GE Digital Energy also licensed Oblong’s technology for its Smart Grid analytics software as part of GE’s ecomagination Accelerator program.
The $20 million ecomagination Accelerator program is a spin-off from the $200 million ecomagination challenge. Accelerator uses GE as a growth platform to scale the offerings of leading start-up companies and funds commercial pilots in key growth markets like the Smart Grid, in addition to equity investments.
“We seek to invest in brilliant innovations that solve real problems with a talented team that can execute. We found that in Oblong,” said Kevin Skillern, managing director of GE Energy Financial Services and an ETV representative. “Their groundbreaking technology has the potential to fundamentally change how we interact with and act on data.”