3D Everything

On 2011/02/24, in rant, by a b

The article and video ‘How Microsoft is piecing together the ‘ultimate display” got me thinking.

From this, it seems obvious that, not only will 3D display be a mass market item, but potentially displays that are also gesture aware without requiring touch. This would obviously inject a some interesting paradigms into user interaction with content and tools. As a developer, I already feel there’s a lot to learn as we incorporate more simple touch gestures, as well as the now common 2D rendering of 3D content. The video made the immediacy of even greater changes really sink in. Seemingly futuristic interactions (think ‘Minority Report’) and content within a user experience will definitely happen, and may happen sooner (and cheaper) than we think.

To me, the next big piece of the puzzle would be voice control, which doesn’t seem to get the attention afforded to display and gesture technolog. Recently, however, we saw Big Blue’s computer Watson taking on (and beating) humans in a game of Jeopardy!. I see this as related, because it updates the public on the state of human interaction with computers, specifically via voice. Granted, the context of the interaction was a somewhat limited, and the computer in this example is highly evolved. Still, I bet it won’t be long before consumers expect voice command that goes well beyond “text my wife”, to something like “Photoshop: highlight faces, reduce red-eye”.

So far the voice aspect of things seems to be way behind, but that may just be related to a lack of consumer demand and media attention to the progress. I would think voice is primarily a software problem at this point (vs the hardware needed for visual/touch interfaces), which would make advancement and inclusion in devices much easier than it is on the display and gesture front.

In both cases, adoption in these areas will likely be further complicated by the problem of developing, culling, and evolving new interaction standards (eg “pinch to zoom” as a standard for touch).

Even with those shortcomings, these are certainly exciting times.


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