The Origin of Oblong

by Foundry

Oblong founder John Underkoffler was recently profiled where he spoke about the origins of the company

When we speak about the history of Oblong, we tend to start with the movie Minority Report, where John was Steven Spielberg’s science advisor.  If you haven’t seen the movie in a while, check it out.  It is one of the only movies that we’ve seen that holds up in its vision of the future even 8 years later.


And while there was a working prototype of the system during the time the movie was being filmed, that was hardly the beginning.  In fact, John had worked at the MIT Media Lab to create what was called The Luminous Room

The Luminous Room was Oblong’s g-speak platform version 0.5 (perhaps).  When we first considered investing in the company, we were amazed to see how long John had been thinking about the larger issues of GUIs and the data implications of operating systems.

If you are interested in seeing John’s early work, the Luminous Room link has videos which will show you the building blocks of what we think is one of the most interesting companies that we’ve ever invested in. 

With our HCI thematic investing strategy, we think often about the future ways we’ll connect with computers.  We aren’t the only folks who think the mouse and keyboard are dead.  If you want to read what John thinks of the future of UI design, read the article