Posts Tagged ‘interface design’

Interface Evolution

Friday, December 17th, 2010

minority_report_interface1

In the Minority Report, browsing through interfaces with gestures was a thing of the future, something cool that we could imagine someday and watch on movie screens. We’ve come a long way since then. Fluid Interfaces, a group at MIT Media Labs, recently paired JavaScript with Microsoft Kinect in order to create what they call “Depth JS,” a web browser extension that allows users to browse any web pages with Kinect, bringing the technology in Minority Report to life.

Looking back at the evolution of site navigation, we’ve gone from monitors, mouse + keyboards, to trackpads, voice recognition, multitouch and gestural interfaces. As cool as they look, gestural and even multitouch interfaces aren’t always the most efficient solution when it comes to web browsing and interface navigation. Imagine gesturing in mid-air to navigate through detailed menus and zooming in and out of maps – it could be tedious or physically limiting. Even with developments like the iPad, which people have credited as one of the most intuitive tools available for web browsing, the device still has add-on keyboard accessories, indicating that touchscreen capability isn’t always the fastest way to input or access information.

In his TED talk last winter, John Underkoffler, the Minority Report science adviser and inventor of g-speak, the real-life version of the film’s point-and-touch interface, predicted that this technology would be available in standard computers in five years. However, it seems that with the advent of Kinect and iPad, the “future” of the interface is now and we’re already looking towards more advanced technologies, including smart surfaces that allow us to interact globally and across multiple platforms, similar to concepts that the Microsoft Office Lab presented in their Future Vision Montage. Watch the Depth JS video below.

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