Live from VMworld 2010: Day 4

VMworld 2010 is at its last day and VMware decided to place the second keynote today. The second keynote is usually more technical than the first one, but as readers know, the first keynote already was a split between vision/strategy and technology/roadmap, with both Paul Maritz, CEO, and Dr. Stephen Herrod, CTO and SVP of R&D on stage. 
So today it will be interesting to see what will be presented.

Rick Jackson, CMO, is on stage to introduce the day. The theme is “innovation”. Apparently, VMware wants to use today to reinforce its image as leading innovator. To do so it invited three guest speakers to show some cutting-edge technologies.

The first one is Pranav Mistry, inventor of SixthSense.
SixthSense is a wearable gestural interface that leverages a camera and a tiny projector mounted in a pendant to augment reality on any object around users. It projects information onto surfaces, walls, and other physical objects.
A video of the prototype in use is shown. It’s almost exactly the futuristic interface seen in the Minority Report movie and even more than that. A lot of companies are working to bring to the market that interface, but Mistry’s project seems well beyond that.

The second guest is Natan Liner, Intel Fellow and part of the Fluid Interfaces Group at the M.I.T. Media Lab.
He introduces project LuminAR, a robotic lamp that combines a pico-projector, camera, and wireless computer in a compact form factor. This self-contained system enables users with just-in-time projected information and a gestural user interface, and it can be screwed into standard light fixtures everywhere.
The long-term idea is to provide augmented reality through a new computer form fact that can fits into any standard lamp arm providing 120V AC.

The third guest is Tan Le, Cofounder of Emotiv Systems.
The company is working on a direct interface for the brain called Emotiv.
Dr. Stephen Herrod is invited on stage to demonstrate how the interface, which only costs a few hundred dollars, works.

Now the guests are on a very short panel with Jackson about the way we could rethink computing.
Jackson closes the keynote with a simple message: innovators think out of the box and VMware adopters have been innovators.
This is a rather subtle way to leverage the human emotions: VMware first inspired the audience with futuristic projects, then it suggested that virtualization has been and still is similarly innovative, and finally implied that anybody can be an innovator believing in its products and adopting them.

Overall,  this has been one of the most interesting VMworld ever in the last few years, and VMware deserves some credit for the incredible improvement shown in messaging. Execution is an entirely different story that can’t be proven on stage but will be seen on the field in the next few months.

Starting tomorrow, (and will restart usual coverage of the industry. There are more than 100 announcements that have been released during this week, so expect a lot of information to come.