Execution of the Lincoln conspirators, 1865

This photo from 1865 showing the hanging execution of the four Lincoln conspirators: David Herold, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt and Mary Surratt. Their deaths were a culmination of sorts of a nation ravaged by war, bitter conflict, and the death of the nation’s commander-in-chief, Abraham Lincoln. Scottish photographer Alexander Gardner captured the macabre scene, including pictures of the condemned seen moments before they walked to the 12-foot gallows, specially constructed for the executions. It was hot that day, reportedly a hundred degrees (38 degree Celsius). Sweat surely dripped down the accused’s faces as they passed by the cheap pine coffins and shallow graves that had been dug for them.

After the Lincoln assassination the government arrested several hundred people. Most were soon released due to lack of evidence. However, the government did charge eight people with conspiracy. On May 1, 1865, President Andrew Johnson ordered the formation of a military commission to try the accused persons. The actual trial began on May 10th and lasted for about seven weeks. The defendants were allowed to have lawyers and witnesses, but they were not allowed to testify themselves.

On June 29, 1865, the Military Commission met in secret session to begin its review of the evidence in the seven-week long trial. A guilty verdict could come with a majority vote of the nine-member commission; death sentences required the votes of six members. The next day, it reached its verdicts. The Commission found seven of the prisoners guilty of at least one of the conspiracy charges. Four of the prisoners: Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt, and David Herold were sentenced “to be hanged by the neck until he [or she] be dead”. Samuel Arnold, Dr. Samuel Mudd and Michael O’Laughlen were sentenced to “hard labor for life, at such place at the President shall direct”, Edman Spangler received a six-year sentence. The next day General Hartrandft informed the prisoners of their sentences. He told the four condemned prisoners that they would hang the next day.


Mr Chairman, Mr Edwards, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been asked, Mr Chairman, if there's any special reason for coming to Wales for the first big Conservative rally of this election. Well, yes, there is just one and maybe another, but let's start with just one first. I mean, where else should we kick off for victory, than where J. P. R . Williams and his team have just won their fourth Triple Crown? [applause]. Yes, I know they beat England in the last match—my [ Denis Thatcher] husband's a great rugby fan—but tonight we're all on the same side, shoulder to shoulder for a great Tory triumph.

And, of course, the second reason. We have a splendid team in Wales, fighting at Westminster, and we hope that next time they'll be augmented by one or two more, or three or four more, or four or five more [applause]. Nick Edwards and Michael Roberts have been magnificent and Sir Raymond Gower and Ian Grist have played a valiant part, and tonight we have here Michael Clay, Alun Jones, Ralph Tuck and Robert Walter. Now before we go any further, have I left anyone out? No, all right. Well, if we get all of those back, we will be doing splendidly from this first rally in Wales this evening.

Now, Mr Chairman, there comes a point in a nation's story when the old slogans and the old illusions crumble, and every thinking person comes face to face with reality. For more than a generation now, people have been telling us that Socialism was inevitable. We've been told time and time again by experts that the drift is bound to be towards state control, towards the new order, which somehow turns out to be the old order gone sour, in which people come second and the political boss and the party officials come first. Resistance, they say, is hopeless. This is the way the world is going. Appeasement and delay, they say, is the best we can hope for. They claim we can no more hold back the inevitable than corks bobbing on the ocean can turn back the tide. Mr Chairman, for too long those defeatists have polluted the atmosphere of public debate [Hear, hear]. Change is coming. The slither and slide to the socialist state is going to be stopped in this United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, stopped, halted and turned back [applause]. It can be done, it will be done, and we intend to make a start on the 4th May.

People are rebelling against the bulging Socialist state and its insatiable appetites. Labour, the self proclaimed party of compassion, has betrayed those for whom it promised to care. So in this campaign we'll not only extend and consolidate Conservative support, we'll carry the fight right into what were once the castles and strongholds of Labour, and in many places we'll win [applause], just as you've begun to do here in South Wales.

Today, there's a stronger sense of resentment at the unfairness of the Socialist system than I can ever remember. After five years of Labour Government, our cities and streets are less safe to walk in, our old folk and children more at risk, our faith in the values and beliefs which we used to think held us together more undermined by fashionable theories and official mockery. Of how many things did one used to hear it said, ‘Well, at least they'll never touch that! At least they'll never attack the judges,’ people said—but they have. ‘At least they'll never let the schools be closed,’—but they were. ‘At least they won't support mass picketing,’—but they did. ‘At least they won't let militants close hospitals, neglect emergencies, even prevent people giving blood,’—but they did that too. Five years ago, these things would have seemed incredible, yet they have happened in our Britain, our supposedly free and tolerant country, with the Labour Government looking on, supine, paralysed, afraid to do what they knew ought to be done, in case they offended their master's voice. I think these things will be remembered against Labour for a generation, and so they should be.

There used to be in this country, a Socialism which valued people. It had dignity and it had warmth. Its methods were those of the collective, of putting all decisions to the centre, which was why it was not our creed, but its aims to raise the living standards of the people were the same as ours. Well, what a world away that is from the officious jargon filled intolerant Socialism practised by Labour these last few years. What a world away it is. What a world away that sort of brotherhood is from flying pickets, from kangaroo courts, the merciless use of the closed shop power, and all the other ugly apparatus which has been strapped like a harness on our people and our country, turning worker against worker, and society against itself. I'm reminded of Cromwell's words to another demoralised faction. He said to them, to some of the then Members of Parliament, ‘You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed and are yourselves become the greatest grievance.’ That is what we say of the Labour party today [applause].

But just stop and listen for a moment, listen to what people are saying today, listen to the voice deep inside this great and ancient nation. First it was a murmur, then a cry, now it's a great shout of anger and determination, that this nation will be free, we will be strong again, we too can prosper, so long as we have a Government which serves and does not seek to master our people [applause].

In a broadcast just before this campaign began, the [ James Callaghan] Labour leader argued that Labour now stood for continuity. It was the Conservatives who wanted to change things, he said. Carry on as we are, that was his message. Well now, I make no comment on this bizarre transformation of the Labour party which always used to be so proud of its radicalism, and I pass over too, for the time being, the well known fact that the present tenant of the Labour leadership could be evicted any day by forces within the Labour party which were determined to transform our society utterly and, if necessarily, violently, determined to transform it from the free society we know into one which they wouldn't have the freedom to say half the things that they say now. Well, what appals us is Labour's shameless appeal to voters to accept our national decline as inevitable and simply to make the best of it. It seems to us like a summons to apathy, like some clarion call for inertia and indolence. It seems as if their campaign slogan is ‘Carry on downhill with Labour’—carry on wheeling, carry on dealing, carry on declining, carry on down, carry on out.

Well, that's exactly what we've been doing under Labour and the decline is accelerating. What the figures tell in their ominous downwards march, we can now see for ourselves. Travel abroad, and see how much better our neighbours are doing.

Travel round our towns and cities and see the shabby scars of Labour Britain, open and unhealing. Look at the ugly truth the record spells out over the last five years of socialism, the record on which they dare not fight this election, so they try to turn people's attention away from it at every single press conference. Labour Britain, the worst rate of growth of any industrial country, with the sole exception of Luxembourg. Labour Britain, the lowest hourly wages of any industrial country with the sole exception of Ireland. Labour Britain, in income per head, not only behind countries like France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria, but also behind Finland and Libya and only a whisker above Czechoslovakia. Labour Britain, leading in only one respect, the fastest and highest price increases of any European country save Italy [applause].

What a record! Is this the nation that stood alone in 1940 against the collapse of European civilisation? It is, but it's the country we have become under Labour and try as they may, we will not let them escape the record. Because of their subservience to the unions, there's been no industrial progress under Labour. Because of their commitment to equality, rather than equality of opportunity, there's been no social progress under Labour. Because of the strength of the left, there's been no economic progress under Labour.

Half a dozen world recessions can't absolve Labour from the major responsibility for Britain's decline. Its full magnitude has been concealed by one thing only: North Sea Oil. Now here, Mr Chairman, was the windfall of the century. It should have been husbanded and deployed in long term investment to break out of the spiral of low productivity and low wages. Instead, it's been treated like a win on the pools, like an invitation to spend, spend, spend, and what's happened, the Government's used it to hide the collapse of our industrial performance and as an excuse to postpone the remedies that we all know are urgent. During the lifetime of the coming parliament, oil production is expected to reach its peak, and thereafter lose its power to conceal our predicament. What would happen then, if by any mischance, Labour scraped back to power? What would they do when the spending of taxpayers' money had to stop? Well the answer is to make certain it doesn't happen. The answer is to return a Conservative Government now, before time runs out [applause].

Now, I think that one of the strengths of Conservatism is that we are not mesmerised by the present, we honour the past and what it has to teach and we look to the future and we prepare for it and we see history in human terms. Indeed, if I had to sum up Conservatism in a phrase, I would say this: it means a sense of personal responsibility, responsibility for one's own family and responsibility towards others. And it's precisely that sense of responsibility which leads us to reject the supine ‘Let's go on as we are’ invitation. How could I, Mr Chairman and ladies and gentlemen, how could I in good conscience say to retired people, ‘I've no plans to change an economy which every single year reduces the value of your savings by at least a tenth’? That's what the Labour Government is saying. How could I say to the young man or woman wanting to start up a business and to employ a few others, ‘We plan to go on with tax rates which will make every risk financially foolish, which will dog your efforts to expand at every turn’? Because that's what Labour's saying. How could I say to my children and grandchildren, ‘Our society may not be much good but it's the best we can do. Be thankful it isn't worse’?

We're the people that in the past made Great Britain the workshop of the world, the people who persuaded others to buy British, not by begging them to do so, but because British was best. We're a people who have received more Nobel prizes than any other nation save America. With achievements like that, who can doubt that Britain can have a great future. But not under Labour. That great future won't happen under Labour. Only if we have a change, and we must have a change. The way to put Britain back into the international race is by giving new life and strength to principles which made our country the great and successful trading nation it used to be [applause]. They're good Conservative principles. That's the way to restore security to the old and hope to the young. We can go on as we've been going and continue down or two weeks on Thursday, we can stop and with a decisive act of will say, ‘Enough!’

But as Conservatives we believe that recovery can only come through the work of individuals. We mustn't forever take refuge behind collective decisions. Each of us must assume our own responsibilities. What we get and what we become depends essentially on our own efforts. For what is the real driving force in society? It's the desire for the individual to do the best for himself and his family. People don't go out to work for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They go out to work for their family, for their children, to help look after their parents. That's what they work for, and it's a very ... [words drowned by applause]. That's the way society is improved, by millions of people resolving that they'll give their children a better life than they've had themselves. And there's just no substitute for this elemental human instinct, and the worst possible thing a Government can do is to try to smother it completely with a sort of collective alternative. They won't work, they can't work. They crush and destroy something precious and vital in the nation and in the individual spirit.

The proper role of government is to set free the natural energy of the people, and that means real rewards for effort and skill. It means restoring a wide degree of freedom to the forces that make up human society. Now Mr Chairman, we're starting to relearn one of the oldest lessons of history, and it is this; that freedom can't be divided into compartments. What use is freedom of speech and of the press in a closed-shop world? What value has a vote if all the real decisions in our lives are going to be taken for us by the state? And if economic freedom is denied, political freedom would soon perish. That's why they so often go to take everything over by the state so that you have to go to them for everything, for your house, for your job. They take your money in tax so you haven't got anything left to save for your old age, and if you do they carry on with inflation so that it is soon worthless. That's the objective of the Socialist society, of people dependent for everything upon the state.

Now our Socialist opponents lecture us about ‘the acquisitive society’. I must say such lectures come ill from some of them. They preach that individual ambition must be replaced by communal benevolence. But what's more heartless than the all powerful state, and don't the industrious and the far-sighted, who start small businesses, who create new jobs, benefit society just as much as themselves? And aren't the urge to save and to invest powerful engines of wealth creation which work efficiently and silently for every one of us if only we'll let them? The truth is that individually, man is thrifty; collectively he tends to be spendthrift, and Governments in general, and Labour Governments in particular, simply love spending other people's money [applause]. When they talk about government giving subsidies to this, that, and the other it really sticks in my gullet. Government hasn't got any subsidies to give! [applause] They can only get their subsidies by taxing the chap who works hard, by taxing the chap who has acquired extra skill, by taxing the manager, by taxing the professional person, by taxing the small businessman, by taxing even some of the pensioners if they've got a bit of savings of their own. That's where the subsidies come from and if they hand out far too many of them, we shall soon have everyone on subsidies and too few people providing them [applause].

Well, what happens? Give the state control of 60%; of what we produce, as we have been doing, and wealth melts away like the winter snow. Tilt the balance back again, towards freedom of choice, towards less tax, and the wealth producing process will begin once again. The trouble is, when they come into power, they always assume that other people have created the wealth that they then set about to distribute, and by the time they've finished distributing it, there isn't any more left to distribute. And that's the stage we've got to now [applause].

But you can't do it unless you have a free society. You can't do it unless people are freer to start up their own businesses, free to carry on with their farms and hand them from father to son, free to pass small business and keep it into the family, free to build up a little bit of capital out of earnings. That's what we ought to be able to do, each and every person in this country.

Well, freedom we must have if this nation is to prosper, but freedom to make economic progress isn't absolutely everything. There must be freedom under a rule of law as well [applause]. Indeed the greatest gift any government can bestow ovn its citizens is the rule of law. No government can ensure equality. The road to the Communist state is paved with such fallacies, but what government can provide is equality before the law and thereby justice.

Now, Mr Chairman, because I hold some of these views, I'm dubbed as a reactionary. ‘Maggie Thatcher, reactionary.’ Well, Mr Chairman, there's a lot to react against! [applause] What housewife doesn't react against a government that's doubled prices? What young school leaver doesn't react against a government that's more than doubled unemployment? What retired person doesn't react against a government that's halved the value of their savings in five years? What hard working person, what skilled person, manager, professional person, farmer, small businessman, doesn't react against a government that takes away their fruits of their labour in tax? Who doesn't react against a government that fails to put the protection of the law-abiding citizen as its top priority? Who doesn't react against a government that cuts the defence of our country to the bone? [applause] Of course we react against that! We react against all of those things!

And if we want to know how to keep prices down, we won't go to the champion of putting them up. We'll go to look at some of the other countries who in the same world recession have managed to increase prices only a fraction of the way in which they have increased in this country. And if we want to know how to create wealth, we will practice the true Conservative principles which have been so successful in our European neighbours and in countries like Singapore, Korea, Japan, and the United States of America. We won't go to this lot, who in fact have flattened and levelled down Britain.

You know, there is an old Chinese proverb. Let's see if I can remember it aright. It says, ‘The hammer that stands highest ...’—the nail, I'm sorry! Got it wrong. Let's start it again, right? ‘The nail that stands highest gets the hammer.’ Well, do you know, that's what's happened in this country. If you stand a bit higher because you've got a bit more skill, you get the hammer. If you start up a small business benefiting yourselves and others, you get the hammer. If you're a very good manager, and heaven knows we need them, it seems as if you get the hammer. It seems as if they level us down. If you earn more, they take it away from you in tax, and that's why we don't create more wealth. So, of course we're reacting against these things. That's why we're offering change. No melodramatic overnight change, but a fresh and invigorating approach to our affairs.

Now I must say that as Conservatives, we're under no illusions about the ability of government to transform the moral climate of society, let alone bring about that change quickly. But what human folly can destroy, human wisdom can surely restore. Quite modest changes in the law, and still more the conduct and example of government can tilt the balance back towards the creative and away from the destructive elements in our midst. The first, the creative, we shall encourage and reward. The second, the destructive, we shall pursue with relentless and unremitting hostility. We know that our country is rich in natural resources, in imagination, in talent, but regulation and taxation have blunted the initiative, and poverty of incentive has diminished enterprise. Government's done too much and done it badly and it's squandered resources that could have been used to halt the downward trend. Production in our factories has fallen under Labour. Business has lacked the confidence to expand under Labour. Prices have more than doubled under Labour. Labour's dragged our country down and Labour must go! [applause]

Now, no easy prospect lies ahead. When we arrive in office, we shall find the place littered with post-dated cheques [laughter], unpaid invoices and final demands left behind by Labour. Yet with a new parliament and a new government, with a clear mandate for a change of direction, I see signs of hope, provided we face up to those who make free with the taxpayers money, practising inefficiency and waste, provided we enable those who work more to earn more and keep more of what they earn, and provided we have no truck with the bogus democrats who glibly demand that political power and influence should decide everything, from who gets a house to the price of beer and what's printed in your daily paper. That's not a free society.

I think that many traditional Labour supporters want the same things we want, believe the same things that we believe, but they're just somehow held back by old loyalties and prejudices. To them I would say this. We understand these things. After all, we too are conservative with a small ‘c’. You know in your hearts that Britain must take a different road. Let's take that road together. We need your help. The more we can gain your co-operation and draw on your knowledge and experience, the more we shall be able to achieve. We understand the deep rooted loyalties and affections that make you hesitate to cross the Rubicon. We know that it's not easy to forsake the habit of a lifetime, but the modern Labour party is no longer the party of Clement Attlee, of Huge Gaitskell and of Roy Jenkins. Labour today is like a pub where the mild is running out. Soon all that's left will be bitter, and all that's bitter will be Left [applause].

Some of the present Labour leadership may not relish or approve the way the wind is blowing. Indeed I'm sure they don't. But last week's events in Newham North East show yet again the growing size and power of the extreme left wing of the Labour party. The many similarities between the Labour and Communist manifestoes further underline what is happening. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, said Burke, is that good men do nothing. So let us say, may I say to Labour's traditional supporters, all that is necessary for the triumph of Marxist Socialism in this country is that a majority of you, who normally vote Labour, should believe that the Labour party of today and tomorrow is the same as the Labour party of yesterday. It isn't. If you care deeply for our country, and you do not care for the way your present day Labour party is going, come with us. We offer you a political home where you can honourably realise the ideals which took you into the Labour party in the first place.

When Paul Johnson resigned from the Labour party, he wrote this. It's one of the most telling pieces I've seen. ‘I've come to appreciate,’ he said, ‘perhaps for the first time in my life, the overwhelming strength of my own attachment to the individual spirit. The paramount need to keep it alive is so great as to over-ride any other principle whatever.’ That's what he said.

Today, Labour in office stands for the ever growing dominance of the state, with all its despotism and frustration of human happiness. That will never be the Conservative way. The Britain we want is a country where Parliament remains supreme, but acts in the spirit of British law and custom. The Britain we want is a country where the individual, however weak, still has definite rights which can never be taken from him, and where the minority, however small, can't be crushed out of existence by the majority power. The Britain we want is one where the rule of law is upheld impartially, even against the most powerful bodies in our community, and where those entrusted with upholding the law, whether policemen or judges, are given respect, support, and encouragement [applause].

We want a Britain where children are taught that there is a real and absolute difference between right and wrong, and there are certain acts which by their very nature are wrong and which must be outlawed by society. In our Britain, those who pursue violence as a way of life, whether armed professional thieves, or backstreet muggers, or terrorists or thugs, will be treated solely for what they are: dangerous criminals to be resisted by civilised society with all its power [applause].

Our Britain is a country where the honest, peaceful and hardworking citizen is valued and prized, above all, defended and supported by all the institutions in the land. The spirit of our Britain will be one of hope and endeavour, where all are equal in votes before the law, but where this equality is a springboard for those who wish to strive for a better life.

These are the values which endure, which will bind together again a wounded nation. These are the values that will inspire the Conservative Britain that lies ahead, that will guarantee our liberties through dangerous and difficult times and ensure that once again we become a powerful partner, rather than a weak and lagging passenger, among the free nations of the earth.

Mr Chairman, in politics I've learnt something that you in Wales are born knowing. It's this: if you've got a message, preach it! [applause]. The Old Testament prophets didn't go out into the highways saying, ‘Brothers, I want consensus.’ They said, ‘This is my faith and my vision! This is what I passionately believe!’ And they preached it. We have a message. Go out, preach it, practice it, fight for it—and the day will be ours! [prolonged applause]

今天学习的 TED 是 Pranav Mistry 的《The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology》:

Pranav Mistry (born 14 May 1981) is a computer scientist and Inventor. At present, he is the Global Vice President of Research at Samsung and the head of Think Tank Team. He is best known for his work on SixthSense, Samsung Galaxy Gear and Project Beyond. His research interests include Wearable Computing, Augmented reality, Ubiquitous computing, Gestural interaction, AI, Machine vision, Collective intelligence and Robotics. World Economic Forum honored Mistry as one of the Young Global Leader 2013.

We grew up interacting with the physical objects around us. There are an enormous number of them that we use every day. Unlike most of our computing devices, these objects are much more fun to use. When you talk about objects, one other thing automatically comes attached to that thing, and that is gestures: how we manipulate these objects, how we use these objects in everyday life. We use gestures not only to interact with these objects, but we also use them to interact with each other. A gesture of "Namaste!", maybe, to respect someone, or maybe, in India I don't need to teach a kid that this means "four runs" in cricket. It comes as a part of our everyday learning.

So, I am very interested, from the beginning, how our knowledge about everyday objects and gestures, and how we use these objects, can be leveraged to our interactions with the digital world. Rather than using a keyboard and mouse, why can I not use my computer in the same way that I interact in the physical world?

So, I started this exploration around eight years back, and it literally started with a mouse on my desk. Rather than using it for my computer, I actually opened it. Most of you might be aware that, in those days, the mouse used to come with a ball inside, and there were two rollers that actually guide the computer where the ball is moving, and, accordingly, where the mouse is moving. So, I was interested in these two rollers, and I actually wanted more, so I borrowed another mouse from a friend -- never returned to him -- and I now had four rollers. Interestingly, what I did with these rollers is, basically, I took them off of these mouses and then put them in one line. It had some strings and pulleys and some springs. What I got is basically a gesture-interface device that actually acts as a motion-sensing device made for two dollars. So, here, whatever movement I do in my physical world is actually replicated inside the digital world just using this small device that I made, around eight years back, in 2000.

Because I was interested in integrating these two worlds, I thought of sticky notes. I thought, "Why can I not connect the normal interface of a physical sticky note to the digital world?" A message written on a sticky note to my mom, on paper, can come to an SMS, or maybe a meeting reminder automatically syncs with my digital calendar -- a to-do list that automatically syncs with you. But you can also search in the digital world, or maybe you can write a query, saying, "What is Dr. Smith's address?" and this small system actually prints it out -- so it actually acts like a paper input-output system, just made out of paper.

In another exploration, I thought of making a pen that can draw in three dimensions. So, I implemented this pen that can help designers and architects not only think in three dimensions, but they can actually draw, so that it's more intuitive to use that way.

Then I thought, "Why not make a Google Map, but in the physical world?" Rather than typing a keyword to find something, I put my objects on top of it. If I put a boarding pass, it will show me where the flight gate is. A coffee cup will show where you can find more coffee, or where you can trash the cup.

So, these were some of the earlier explorations I did because the goal was to connect these two worlds seamlessly. Among all these experiments, there was one thing in common: I was trying to bring a part of the physical world to the digital world. I was taking some part of the objects, or any of the intuitiveness of real life, and bringing them to the digital world, because the goal was to make our computing interfaces more intuitive.

But then I realized that we humans are not actually interested in computing. What we are interested in is information. We want to know about things. We want to know about dynamic things going around.

So I thought, around last year -- in the beginning of the last year -- I started thinking, "Why can I not take this approach in the reverse way?" Maybe, "How about I take my digital world and paint the physical world with that digital information?" Because pixels are actually, right now, confined in these rectangular devices that fit in our pockets. Why can I not remove this confine and take that to my everyday objects, everyday life so that I don't need to learn the new language for interacting with those pixels?

So, in order to realize this dream, I actually thought of putting a big-size projector on my head. I think that's why this is called a head-mounted projector, isn't it? I took it very literally, and took my bike helmet, put a little cut over there so that the projector actually fits nicely. So now, what I can do -- I can augment the world around me with this digital information.

But later, I realized that I actually wanted to interact with those digital pixels, also. So I put a small camera over there that acts as a digital eye. Later, we moved to a much better, consumer-oriented pendant version of that, that many of you now know as the SixthSense device.

But the most interesting thing about this particular technology is that you can carry your digital world with you wherever you go. You can start using any surface, any wall around you, as an interface. The camera is actually tracking all your gestures. Whatever you're doing with your hands, it's understanding that gesture. And, actually, if you see, there are some color markers that in the beginning version we are using with it. You can start painting on any wall. You stop by a wall, and start painting on that wall. But we are not only tracking one finger, here. We are giving you the freedom of using all of both of your hands, so you can actually use both of your hands to zoom into or zoom out of a map just by pinching all present. The camera is actually doing -- just, getting all the images -- is doing the edge recognition and also the color recognition and so many other small algorithms are going on inside. So, technically, it's a little bit complex, but it gives you an output which is more intuitive to use, in some sense.

But I'm more excited that you can actually take it outside. Rather than getting your camera out of your pocket, you can just do the gesture of taking a photo, and it takes a photo for you.

Thank you. And later I can find a wall, anywhere, and start browsing those photos or maybe, "OK, I want to modify this photo a little bit and send it as an email to a friend." So, we are looking for an era where computing will actually merge with the physical world. And, of course, if you don't have any surface, you can start using your palm for simple operations. Here, I'm dialing a phone number just using my hand. The camera is actually not only understanding your hand movements, but, interestingly, is also able to understand what objects you are holding in your hand.

For example, in this case, the book cover is matched with so many thousands, or maybe millions of books online, and checking out which book it is. Once it has that information, it finds out more reviews about that, or maybe New York Times has a sound overview on that, so you can actually hear, on a physical book, a review as sound.

(Video) Famous talk at Harvard University --

This was Obama's visit last week to MIT.

(Video) And particularly I want to thank two outstanding MIT --

Pranav Mistry: So, I was seeing the live [video] of his talk, outside, on just a newspaper. Your newspaper will show you live weather information rather than having it updated. You have to check your computer in order to do that, right?

When I'm going back, I can just use my boarding pass to check how much my flight has been delayed, because at that particular time, I'm not feeling like opening my iPhone, and checking out a particular icon. And I think this technology will not only change the way --

Yes. It will change the way we interact with people, also, not only the physical world. The fun part is, I'm going to the Boston metro, and playing a pong game inside the train on the ground, right?

And I think the imagination is the only limit of what you can think of when this kind of technology merges with real life.

But many of you argue, actually, that all of our work is not only about physical objects. We actually do lots of accounting and paper editing and all those kinds of things; what about that? And many of you are excited about the next-generation tablet computers to come out in the market.

So, rather than waiting for that, I actually made my own, just using a piece of paper. So, what I did here is remove the camera -- All the webcam cameras have a microphone inside the camera. I removed the microphone from that, and then just pinched that -- like I just made a clip out of the microphone -- and clipped that to a piece of paper, any paper that you found around. So now the sound of the touch is getting me when exactly I'm touching the paper. But the camera is actually tracking where my fingers are moving.

You can of course watch movies.

(Video) Good afternoon. My name is Russell, and I am a Wilderness Explorer in Tribe 54."

PM: And you can of course play games.

(Car engine)

Here, the camera is actually understanding how you're holding the paper and playing a car-racing game.

Many of you already must have thought, OK, you can browse. Yeah. Of course you can browse to any websites or you can do all sorts of computing on a piece of paper wherever you need it. So, more interestingly, I'm interested in how we can take that in a more dynamic way. When I come back to my desk, I can just pinch that information back to my desktop so I can use my full-size computer.

And why only computers? We can just play with papers. Paper world is interesting to play with. Here, I'm taking a part of a document, and putting over here a second part from a second place, and I'm actually modifying the information that I have over there. Yeah. And I say, "OK, this looks nice, let me print it out, that thing." So I now have a print-out of that thing. So the workflow is more intuitive, the way we used to do it maybe 20 years back, rather than now switching between these two worlds.

So, as a last thought, I think that integrating information to everyday objects will not only help us to get rid of the digital divide, the gap between these two worlds, but will also help us, in some way, to stay human, to be more connected to our physical world. And it will actually help us not end up being machines sitting in front of other machines.

That's all. Thank you.

Thank you.

Chris Anderson: So, Pranav, first of all, you're a genius. This is incredible, really. What are you doing with this? Is there a company being planned? Or is this research forever, or what?

Pranav Mistry: So, there are lots of companies, sponsor companies of Media Lab interested in taking this ahead in one or another way. Companies like mobile-phone operators want to take this in a different way than the NGOs in India, thinking, "Why can we only have 'Sixth Sense'? We should have a 'Fifth Sense' for missing-sense people who cannot speak. This technology can be used for them to speak out in a different way maybe a speaker system."

CA: What are your own plans? Are you staying at MIT, or are you going to do something with this?

PM: I'm trying to make this more available to people so that anyone can develop their own SixthSense device, because the hardware is actually not that hard to manufacture or hard to make your own. We will provide all the open source software for them, maybe starting next month.

CA: Open source? Wow.

CA: Are you going to come back to India with some of this, at some point?

PM: Yeah. Yes, yes, of course.

CA: What are your plans? MIT? India? How are you going to split your time going forward?

PM: There is a lot of energy here. Lots of learning. All of this work that you have seen is all about my learning in India. And now, if you see, it's more about the cost-effectiveness: this system costs you $300 compared to the $20,000 surface tables, or anything like that. Or maybe even the $2 mouse gesture system at that time was costing around $5,000? I showed that, at a conference, to President Abdul Kalam, at that time, and then he said, "OK, we should use this in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre for some use of that." So I'm excited about how I can bring the technology to the masses rather than just keeping that technology in the lab environment.

CA: Based on the people we've seen at TED, I would say you're truly one of the two or three best inventors in the world right now. It's an honor to have you at TED. Thank you so much. That's fantastic.