Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Minority report User Interface (sign language for your computer)

I thought Minority Report was a great film. It's my kind of science fiction: thoughtful and set not too far in the future nor based solely on whacky gadgets that we think may one day come into existence. The technological developments which we see in Minority Report are close enough to feel achievable, such as the following interface between John and the digital files he's inspecting.

Imagine my surprise when visiting the Maritime museum in Cherbourg (Cité de la mer) when I get to have a play with such an interface! It was a little cranky as it took a bit of work to stay still enough within the active zone but it was perfectly usable.

Plink, plink...
Not like that Daddy, like this!

Furthermore when checking out more of these types of interfaces online I see that there are some amazing new advancements with gestural recognition and I have included a video of 'kinect' below controlling Windows 7.

The real impact of this technology will come when the interface can be controlled with very subtle gestures rather than the big pointy and hovering movements we see in the video. The above video demonstrates a useful application of current gestural recognition but I see this developing more into a discreet sign language. It will become less of a series of large gestures you need to learn (much like apple track pad and mouse interfaces) and more akin to a sign language you'll need to take up in order to communicate with your computer. This will enable you to have much more freedom and depth of communication.

Once these gestures become so small and well defined and set into a language 'structure' then we will see the mouse becoming redundant.

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