The future of interaction

Estimated reading time: Less than 3 minutes

It’s fascinating when we see sci-fi movies like the Minority Report and the super cool way you can interact with computers and digital devices of the modern age. It is in fact, even more fascinating that these kind of technologies are just not some futuristic idea, but in existence today. Although being far from perfect, as had been demonstrated by the movie’s Science Advisor, John Underkoffler at TED, or as we can see Pranav Mistry’s Sixth Sense or of the late, the Microsoft Kinect, we are pretty close to achieving what we use to think was ‘the interaction’ of the future!!

Sparsh - touch to copy

Followed by this, there came people who envisions that such kind of interactions is the NOT the future of UI. Dan Saffer, author of Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices wrote about why Minority Report Style Interaction is not the future, it’s quite conclusive that it is indeed questionable.

Human beings aren’t meant to hold their arms out in front of their bodies making gestures for long periods of time. It creates a condition called Gorilla Arm (aching muscles, stiffness, a swollen feeling) because it violates basic human ergonomics. Tom Cruise (who, let’s be honest, is in better shape than 95% of us) was reportedly tired from just acting out the scenes in the movie. ~

So if Minority Report style gestural base interaction is not the future, what is?

The future of interaction, as I believe, will mostly deal with fingers. Even when we come up with mind controlled, eye movement or voice controlled  interactions, our fingers are going to play an important role in Human Computer Interaction.

Not delving deep into all the theoretical reasons, we are well aware of how much we, as a human, put pressure on our fingers to complete thousands of tasks everyday: from typing a keyboard to holding things and playing guitars and keyboards and giving people you hate an ‘F’ sign! The bet is, you probably type tens of fifties of emails everyday in office but did you ever get tired; well to be more precise, compared to more physical movements as would’ve required if you are performing a Minority style interaction?

I guess no.

The future is ‘mobility’, lightweight, ubiquitous, efficiency and well security as always; and these factors ruled out the option for John Underkofller’s interaction. It requires too much physical movement and the friction between the digital and real world is a little too obvious. Well, going forward, we might see an advance form of these interactions and things can change but at the moment, if you consider these forms of interactions, I would not be too wrong to presume that it will end with gaming, simulators, and artistic performance base usage only.

Well, for a closing, I believe interaction designs like Sparsh are what you should be designing.

SPARSH lets you conceptually transfer media from one digital device to your body and pass it to the other digital device by simple touch gestures.

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