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Input Devices GUI Software Technology

Ideas For the Next Generation In Human-Computer Interfaces 170

Singularity Hub writes "For decades our options for interacting with the digital world have been limited to keyboards, mice, and joysticks. Now with a new generation of exciting new interfaces in the pipeline our interaction with the digital world will be forever changed. Singularity Hub looks at some amazing demonstrations, mostly videos, that showcase new ways of interacting with the digital world." Along similar lines, reader shakuni points out a facial expression-driven user interface reported on News.com for operating, say, an iPhone, explaining "This device is tiny and fits into the ear and measures movements inside the ear due to changes in facial expression and then uses that as input triggers. So [tongue out] starts or stops your iPod Touch; [Wink] rewinds to the last song; and [smile] replays the same song."
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Ideas For the Next Generation In Human-Computer Interfaces

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  • by kylemonger ( 686302 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:06PM (#27113821)
    The people walking down the street talking via bluetooth seem odd to you because they prefer the conversation with a distant person to dealing with you. If your need for attention weren't so acute this wouldn't bother you at all.

    No, they look odd because they look like they are talking to themselves or an invisible friend. This "poke your tongue out" iPod interface would be even worse. Ever seen tardive dyskinesia [youtube.com]? That's what people are going to look like trying to select the right playlist on their iPods.
  • by rAiNsT0rm ( 877553 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:53PM (#27114085) Homepage

    Everyone is close but just missing the boat in my opinion. Touch is the way to go but NOT directly on the display screen. A second screen (similar to the dual screened OLPC concept, or a Nintendo DS) that can be customized by each app or else function as a standard pointer/multi-touch input. It has to be essentially a full-on touchscreen display with full color and solid refresh rate.

    This would spur all kinds of new interactions, games, and input.

  • Re:voice control (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:47PM (#27114385) Journal
    I don't think that's the only hurdle to overcome. In a lot of cases, I just don't think voice control is very useful beyond a novelty. I played with it a number of years ago. After a bit of training, it was recognizing my commands pretty well. Thing is, it was tedious as hell to do things with voice control. I spent 10x longer doing things simply for the novelty to doing it using voice commands.

    I feel the same way about it. But my brother swears by it... he can have his hands full of scientific equipment and still issue commands to his computer which is interfacing with the tools he's using.

    I could see this sort of tech being really useful for those who wish to access reference materials while their hands are full too... be it doctors who have their hands covered in blood switching to a different monitor or mechanics who have their hands covered in grease switching to a different schematic.

    Personally, some days I'd give my left nut for a good heads up display and a glove with an integrated chording keyboard and touch pad. If I could do my work lying on my back instead of sitting in this chair, I probably wouldn't have to go to the chiropractor.
  • Why Go Backwards? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gilgongo ( 57446 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:29PM (#27114703) Homepage Journal

    Disclaimer: I am a UI designer, and it's been the way I've earned my living for the past eight years.

    All the "revolutionary" UIs that we've seen like Siftables and perceptive pixels appear to make a major assumption that I don't accept: that dispensing with the virtualisation of data and our interaction with it is automatically good.

    Bringing data and its manipulation "into our world" (as the Siftables guy puts it) seems to me to be a completely retrograde step. One of the reasons why we have computers in the first place is because our world and our physiology is in fact VERY BAD at manipulating large numbers of objects, or pouring paint from one place to another to create the right colour. Keyboards and mice, command lines and pipes, even folders and sub-folders (maybe), are several orders of magnitude better and more flexible at controlling the entropy that we need to control in order to get stuff done. We spent the last 10,000 years working that out - why the hell are we trying to re-discover our inefficiencies?

    I suspect the reason for this is because designing improvements to current UI is in fact very, very hard indeed. Of course, there is another reason: self-promotion by academics hoping to be given jobs heading up large corporate R&D departments for ten times their MIT salaries. But I'll let that pass.

    Basically, anyone who things humans have a future in significant problem-solving through the manipulation of real-world objects either doesn't understand the past, or is so used to the efficiencies that current human-computer UI models bring that they have ceased to understand them. The key to this understanding is an extreme abstraction of the real world, not its re-creation.

  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @07:39PM (#27115713)

    Knobs and things:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMeSw00n3Ac [youtube.com]

  • by rAiNsT0rm ( 877553 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @09:40PM (#27116683) Homepage

    Haptic feedback is actually what you are contending, and it is coming and very possible. I have seen one implementation that easily has as much travel as the current Macbook/Apple keyboards.

    Basically you can still have a regular keyboard but you would also have a Wacom like tablet that is a programmable screen for input as well, and on laptops there would be no keyboard or touchpad, just a second large screen field with proper haptic feedback.

    It will be a major paradigm shift, and there will be many (possibly yourself) who will resist it but the flexibility and new interfaces it would open up would be revolutionary. We shall see.

  • Re:voice control (Score:4, Interesting)

    by evilad ( 87480 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @10:38PM (#27117101)

    Try a stand-up workstation. I improvised one out of some metro shelving and it did wonders for my back.

    For extra points and core-strength exercises, stand on a balance cushion while using it.

  • Re:Why Go Backwards? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08, 2009 @11:52PM (#27117639)

    everyones missing the point. The point of new ways to input/manipulate data is to excorcise computer users from their desks.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer