Minority report is a must-see movie for UI geeks. It seems to have inspired a new generation of UI innovation, or perhaps, a new generation of designers and developers and Stephen Spielberg are all thinking along the same lines.
There are some inventions that use cameras and Pointscreen (video) which works by sensing electric fields (inspired by the Theremin). But, none seem as responsive as the multi-touch interface demonstrated earlier this year by Jeff Han at the TED conference.
While everyone is wowed by this technology and wants to play with it, there is still question about how practical is will be in real life. “Ben Shneiderman, a computer science professor at the University of Maryland and a founding director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab, calls Han a ‘great showman’ who has ‘opened the door to exciting possibilities.’ But he doesn’t think Han’s technology would be suitable for a large-scale consumer product, nor as useful as a mouse on a large display. If you are standing in front of the screen, Shneiderman wonders, how would people behind you be able to see what you’re doing?” (via Fast Company via BassicTech) I think the main potential problem is that your arms will get tired; however, the potential risks of RSI didn’t stop consumer adoption of Doug Englebart‘s mouse.
I do think it would be pretty effective for collaboration. I always find it hard to sit back and just watch someone else “drive” when working together on a computer. Of course, we have a long way to go on collaboration software in general, let alone adapting it to this new paradigm. Regardless, I applaud Jeff’s innovation and wish him and his colleagues at Perceptive Pixel the best of luck. I wholeheartedly agree with Jeff Han when he says that “interfaces should be conforming to us.”