27 January 2011

The near future of the user interface

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Two articles and one prototype provide diverging viewpoints on the near future of the user interface:

Microsoft plans a natural interface future full of gestures, touchscreens and haptics
An official Microsoft blog highlights MS’s plans about the future of how we’ll interact with computers. Apparently, writes Fast Company, it’s touchscreens and “natural user interfaces” (NUI) all the way. MS foresees NUI technology rapidly advancing from its current sensor-centric state to include “knowledge of what you’re trying to do (contextual awareness)” and “where you are and what is around you (environmental awareness).” By combining clever processing with Kinect-style sensors and touchscreens, MS imagines that its systems will become much more intuitive. The hope is that they become “almost invisible,” in fact, and not a barrier between you and what you want your PC to do. Add in haptic feedback, where your devices communicate back to you in non-visual ways to add to the quality of interactivity, and you’ve got some very powerful thinking here.

Amnesia: a magical interface for dragging files between mobile devices
A clever Microsoft Surface app makes iPads and Android phones behave like we wish they would: No different from real life files.

Mac daddy predicts all-knowing, all-seeing UI
In the future, you’ll use a speech-based interface to access all the world’s knowledge – including your own personal memories – stored in the cloud, according to a legendary engineer who was a member of the team that designed Apple’s original Macintosh user interface.

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