Oblong Industries, a company that makes conferencing rooms with screens controlled by gestures like the movie “Minority Report,” just raised $65 million.
In fact, the computers in “Minority Report” were the brainchild of the Oblong’s founder, John Underkoffler, who served as science advisor to director Steven Spielberg for the film.
Underkoffler was working as a researcher at the MIT Media Lab when Spielberg came calling, asking for a vision of what computers would look like in the future.
Underkoffler is also a 2015 National Smithsonian Design Award winner and his 2010 TED talk about all this gesture tech has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times.
Oblong has taken his vision and turned it into a product: conference equipment called Mezzanine, a commercial version of the screen-manipulation technology seen in the movie. Mezzanine also allows people to from far-away campuses to join in the same meeting and manipulate the screens from afar. Or people can join the meeting, and interact with the workgroup’s screens, remotely via laptops.
The company says its current customers include NASA, PcW, IBM and dozens of others Fortune 500 firms.
This investment was led by Greenspring Associates, Industry Ventures and UTIMCO (the investment arm of the University of Texas). The company was previously backed by the Morgan Stanley and the Foundry Group.
VC Brad Feld, cofounder of the Foundry Group, calls the tech “implemented science-fiction.”
With this new $65 million, Oblong has raised about $149 million from venture investors, according to Crunchbase.
Here’s a video that shows off what this company believes is the conference room of the future: