Concept: Stream Adaptive Computer System, Locus OS

Developed by industrial designer Barton Smith, the Stream Adaptive Computer System is an interesting take on making computing easier and more adaptable to suit the user’s current needs. Today, he also unveiled the operating system and user interface that would run on Stream. It’s… Amazing.

Smith has been developing this concept for a while now – it was first unveiled in October 2008. The basic goal of Stream is to eradicate the multitude of computing devices we own today, and consequently, their overlap. This should reduce complexity by a great deal. Stream achieves this by breaking the computer down into modules.

“The Stream concept consist of Experience Modules (Media, Memories, Connections, Documents, Creations, Games), the Core Component, Component Modules (processors, memory, graphics, power), a 3.5″ Portable Display and Charging Cradle and Universal Charging Base,” the description reads, “The former three are paramount to the system, while the latter three are non-essential or functionally flexible.”

This means that the actual computer part of a computer has been broken down into modules that the user can connect to achieve greater functionality. The base of the system is made up of the Core Component, and if a user only needs to write documents and browse the internet, all he further needs are the Connections and Documents modules. If people want more processing power, they can buy additional Component Modules.

You can take the device with you, or attach it to any display you want – be it a small portable one, or a larger stationary one. No more need for a desktop, a laptop, a phone, a music player, and whatever – it’s all the same device, just hooked up to a different display or module configuration.

What Smith hadn’t shown yet was the concept operating system that is supposed to run on Stream. The concept he developed over the past few years, dubbed Locus OS, is incredibly well-thought out, and makes a lot of sense (at least to me). The modularity concept of the hardware is extended into the software – the word that kept popping into my head is clever.

The file manager specifically is something I find incredibly interesting – sadly, it gets little screen time. The file manager displays groups of files as projects, and within those projects, files are displayed in a more real-world fashion, but without the ‘gimmickness’ of things like BumpTop.

Important note: the Microsoft branding during the boot screen has been added simply to make it seem more real – Smith is in no way affiliated with Microsoft. Also interesting is a note posted underneath the video: “This interface was designed before iPhone 3.0, Palm Pre, Android etc, making the ideas original at the time. :)”

Locus OS Interface from Barton Smith on Vimeo.

Can we please have someone snag up this concept and turn it into reality? Maybe we have a billionaire in the OSNews audience who wishes to invest in a project like this? This designer has vision, a very clear and clever idea of where computing should go. This type of work reminds me of the visionaries of yore, like Engelbart and Kay.

Very interesting stuff, and I’d love to see more about this.


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