Researchers from MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces group have created an app called Reality Editor, which will allow users to control real world objects using virtual devices while keeping your data private. This app is a direct response to companies having control over data gathered from the use of the Internet of Things, a network of physical, real world objects that are user controlled.
Research leader Valentin Heun proposes that instead of the “Internet of Things,” users should have what he calls “Connected Objects” that are controlled using the Reality Editor app. The app communicates with these objects through existing networking technologies and is used by pointing a device’s camera at the object in order to access its programmed capabilities, which will be available for editing.
These Connected Objects then send their “FingerPrints” and network IP to the Reality Editor app. From there, users will be able to drag virtual lines connecting these objects to each other to establish functional systems. These connections are on decentralized private networks and are not constantly connected to central entities that require a central cloud services to function. All interface, data, connection and functionality are saved within the Connected Object, keeping all that data safe and secure.
You can see how it works, and learn more about the process, in the video below.
Through all the different virtual-to-real connections, all produced data would be retained by the user and remain private unless absolutely necessary, like when connecting to third party networks.
In an interview with The Creators Project, Heun says, “If I switch a light switch on at home that light switch communicates directly with the light. There is no need to send this action all around the world and then back into my home. Data connections should always take the most possible direct rout, reflecting a user’s privacy interests.”
He adds, “What we consider virtual or digital is defined by the paradigms of a personal computing. The Reality Editor is a first small step to create a new set of paradigms.”