How can technology break physical space?

“Meet the Real-Life Tony Stark Whose Tech Is Changing the World”

In a couple of years, you are going to be Iron Man. No, really. It’s not because you’re getting a flying suit and sweet new facial hair — it’s because how you use computers is going to completely change.

That’s what John Underkoffler hopes, anyway. He’s the cofounder and CEO of Oblong Industries, and he’s also the guy Marvel consults so they can make Iron Man’s alter ego, Tony Stark, as brilliant as he appears in the Avengers movies.


Underkoffler’s goal for Mezzanine is to bring computing into space. “We’re experts at using the physical world,” he said. “Space is important because that’s where we live.” Yet we’re still using all the power of contemporary technology with the maximum capabilities of the early age of computers: a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, a single device. Even our smartphones are a limitation — Underkoffler compares it to confining your creativity to a 3-inch-by-5-inch card. Our problems, he says, are room-sized and require collaboration. “We know how to get stuff done with other people when space is the medium,” he said.

Mic, June 2, 2015

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