Will Your Next Touchscreen Be A Mouse?

It appears the race is on to create a touchscreen that will provide haptic feedback. Leading the charge appears to be researchers at Bristol University in England and Disney Research.

In both cases the teams at Bristol University and Disney Research are working to find a way to simulate the sensation of touch on an otherwise smooth surface. The idea is to give the illusion of feeling a three dimensional object, such as buttons, edges to on screen objects, and other surfaces. Read more Will Your Next Touchscreen Be A Mouse?

Touch Tablets and Touch Screens

What do you think of when I say touch tablet or a touch screen? Perhaps a Wacom art tablet? Touch screen devices like an iPad or other tablet device? Or maybe an interactive kiosk (such as for buying commuter tickets). Sure, these are great new technologies. Or are they? Alan Alda might have something to say about that… from about 30 years ago! Read more Touch Tablets and Touch Screens

Searching for Answers

I own an Android smart phone. The thing only leaves my side to charge and I use it for a lot of activities. I use it as my primary Gmail viewer, checking Twitter and Facebook on the go, for news, and some internet searches. I don’t think I ever realized how closely my phone was tracking my habits. But the other day I swear it read my mind. Read more Searching for Answers

Interactive Grass?

During some of my earlier searches into NUI I came across www.nuigroup.com, a community for sharing ideas as NUI is explored. One concept that took me by surprise and made me rethink my initial thoughts of what a Natural User Interface is about was Interaction Grass – Frits Stam. Read more Interactive Grass?

Kinect for Windows Gets All Up In Your Grill

A recent post from the folks over at Channel 9 has caught my attention regarding a Kinect for Windows development. The original article is a bit on the technical side and goes into lots of great information on how to use the API and various resolution issues that quite frankly is a bit too technical to get real excited over, especially with this announcement competing with E3 announcements. I’ve decided to take a step back from all the supper technical code speak and talk about why this is an important step for NUI. Read more Kinect for Windows Gets All Up In Your Grill

SixthSense… Where Are We Now?

Pranav Mistry Demonstrates SixthSenseI can remember the excitement among my friends at seeing the TED video about SixthSense. Indeed I shared it with as many people who I could, excited about what was being developed. It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since the Talk on SixthSense was filmed. So I wanted to look and see where are we with it today? Read more SixthSense… Where Are We Now?

Infosys to Demonstrate Next-Generation Natural User Interface Cable TV Concepts at The Cable Show’s “Imagine Park” – MarketWatch

It’s no longer just Microsoft that wants to get rid of controllers. Infosys, of India, is ready to demonstrate the integration of NUI into your cablebox. Whereas Microsoft has been focusing on increasing the home entertainment value of the Xbox platform, other companies such as Infosys is halping to lead the way in bringing similar interactive entertainment experiences through other devices. Read more Infosys to Demonstrate Next-Generation Natural User Interface Cable TV Concepts at The Cable Show’s “Imagine Park” – MarketWatch

Kinect adding Explorer?

Warren over at the theverge.com  have reported that Microsoft is testing functionality of Explorer on the Xbox using Kinect controls. Here’s what they’ve reported:

Microsoft is currently testing a modified version of Internet Explorer 9 on its Xbox 360 console, according to our sources. The Xbox 360 currently includes Bing voice search, but it’s limited to media results. Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer browser for Xbox will expand on this functionality to open up a full browser for the console. We are told that the browser will let Xbox users surf all parts of the web straight from their living rooms.

Microsoft has also integrated Kinect gestures and voice control heavily into the experience, allowing Xbox owners to quickly search using the existing Bing functionality and pull up relevant web pages. Kinect support is not mandatory according to our sources, but the browser is said to be tuned for Kinect usage. There’s no word on a launch date for Internet Explorer on Xbox, but with E3 on the horizon we’d expect to hear the official details from Microsoft in a matter of weeks.

ComputerSo what does this say for NUI? Microsoft is really pushing hard for a controllerless society. Sure you could use an Xbox TypePad but why would you? In my internet experience I have mainly used brief snippets of text to navigate the web. Either by entering a URL or a search term. From there it’s a matter of reading and selecting what you want and where you want to go. Using NUI for web surfing is a “Natural” fit. It just gets us one more step closer to smart homes and being able to say into a room: “Computer, run a level 5 diagnostics on the life support system,” and getting a reply to something like, “Temperature is at 67 degrees farenheit, internal temperature distribution and return network is at optimum operating parameters.”

“Hello Computer.”

One of my favorite Human-Computer interactions in Cinema was the scene in Star Trek IV where Scotty interacts with the computer at the manufacturing plant. This has always stuck with me as a display of how we expected technology to change. For me, prior to the movie, I never gave much thought to how we interacted with computers. Seeing this as a kid made me realize that the human/computer interface will continue to change and so will our expectations. As I sit here and type this I know that my days of using a keyboard are numbered. I will explore current and upcoming voice recognition technologies in upcoming posts.

The below video is a bit long… so if you want to skip ahead to the best part follow the link below the video!

Skip to Scotty using the computer…
Scotty Using the Keyboard

Welcome to NUI!

NUI is an acronym for “Natural User Interface.”

The world currently runs on GUI–Graphical User Interface–but that is fast changing.  Such motion sensing devices as Kinect (tm Microsoft) and even the position sensors in iPad (tm Apple), Nook (tm Barnes and Noble), and many other tablet devices that allow them to respond to human movements are just the beginnings of what will be an exciting new world devoted to ever more natural-feeling interfaces to all kinds of devices.

In this blog, I will explore the world of these interfaces as well as the devices they control.  Join me in a walk into a NUI world.

— Eric Wilkinson