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The future of HMI

The Human-machine interface is changing fast. What we are seeing today are literally sci fi pieces brought to life.

Daniel Siconnelli, Blogger

November 2, 2010

2 Min Read

In the 60-70s James Bond talking to his video-phone-watch was something impossible.  In many space-based-action-sci-fi flicks we could see people taking notes and reading information on glass shaped pads with wireless connectivity with the on board Supercomputer of the Spacecraft they were on.  This "should" have been in the 22 or 23rd century... oups.

Science Fiction has always been a valuable source of ideas for the creators of new technologies.  In recent films like Minority Report or the later Iron Man, the protagonists use interfaces with their hands moving in the air.  Science Fiction?  The Wii and PS3 move may look like it (don't mention the neolithic PowerGlove  ;-P) but... the Kinect may appear beyond those movies as you wear nothing, the device maps your skeleton and looks at your face...etc...etc.

Then there is this "multi touch screen" hype.  Hype because it doesnt add much to interfaces at first glance since its a keyboard with "no feel" and you absolutely need to look at it to write something (unless you know very well your device).  But at the same time when performing tasks which do not require a keyboard, you can claim back an important part of the screen for display purposes.  The keyboard can be switched for other "controls"..etc.  Those technology add very interesting possibilities to developpers of games (and other apps).  But knowing that the market must always drag us to buy that new "next-gen" device, what may be lurking at the corner?

There are attempts at developping technologies to track eye movement and brain activity so you can interact with computers and devices with your sight and thoughts.  I still read that it is not perfect but already quite impressive as the concepts actually work.

So what do interfaces will be like 10 years from now...?  20 years...?  30 years...and beyond...?  Frightning and exciting at the same time.  I guess a wi-fi connection between a device which reads brain activity would probably be the end of the road before we go "implanting" interfaces directly into the brain to interact with games and all other electronic devices.  Those devices could easily be recharging themselves from neural activity.  Science fiction?  Impossible?  Think about the ethical debate.... you already own larger and larger parts of your life within different networks.

While many were feeling threatened by the intrusion of the Web into their "personnal" lives some years ago, times are changing and now it seems everyone want everyone to know what they think, they do and whatever.  Those connection are applied to games as well.  MMOs, Facebook Games...etc.  We just need that connection to compare, cooperate, evolve within.  Your selling tickets to world where there is no frontier.  And it sells great.

When everyone will be connected 24/7 to whatever networks even while sleeping/dreaming...  that still leads me to the question... will there be any place left for human-human interface connectivity?

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