Christian Long

Anand Agarawala: Demos His Bumptop Desktop

In TED Talks on April 22, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Reflection by HERSH T.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc

Anand Agarawala:  Demos His Bumptop Desktop

Who doesn’t like thinking about the future?

And if you just said you don’t, then think again. Everyone does, it has mystery and excitement a deadly combination. When we think about what Mr. Agarwal is saying at the beginning of the video, it is easy to realize that we truly have been duped by the companies that make these computer interfaces. There is a saying in history called, “Bread and Circuses.” It simply means feed and entertain the masses and you will have all the power. Similarly, by using a simple interface that is not easily changeable then the companies are able to make more money cheaper.

Innovation requires money.

However, while it is not easy for one of the masses (i.e. us) to overcome this illusion, Mr. Agarwal is one of the few who has the future vision and sight necessary to realize that there is a wealth of opportunity available for us. Mr. Agarwal dared to go beyond the normal and the boring and to experiment with things that many of us had believed were set in stone.

Bump Top is a computer interface that imitates, in almost every way, your own desk in real life.

You are able to bump icons against each other, stack them up, pin them on the wall, organize them, and that is just the beginning. Bump Top is such an ingenious and fascinating interface, that as soon as it is released it will change forever the way computers are created. The ingenuity required to start such a project is limited however, when used, it quickly reaches new and unimaginable heights. And Mr. Agarwal’s seemingly effortless blend of humor and levity manages to humble what we know as a genius.

There are some questions that I felt were unanswered at the end of the talk however.

He did not make it obvious how far along this project was, and if it was simply a means of organizing icons or if he had revolutionized everything computer. He also was lacking clarity in whether or not the project could utilize older items (Windows, Internet Explorer etc.), things that have made computer easier for us simpler masses.

I must however, once again, commend Mr. Agarwal on his creativity which allowed him to come up with such an incredible object. True genius is simple. And Bump Top is the epitome of both simple and genius.

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