He can conjure a phone keypad in the palm of his hand and tap the virtual numbers to place a call. The system can even recognize a book in front of the camera, retrieve its Amazon listing from the Web, and project its rating on the cover. Watching Mistry, a graduate student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Arts and Sciences program, demonstrate the device is like witnessing a magic show. But he and his adviser, Pattie Maes, a digital-interface specialist at MIT's Media Lab, expect the SixthSense to do a lot more than evoke wonder. Within a few years, they hope, it will let people operate smartphones without touching a button, do instant research on objects around them, and generally offer the kind of enhanced-reality experience that's now confined to science fiction.