You’ve probably heard me rant about the error of putting a touchscreen on every new product. Touch is slick and easy but it’s not for everything. And it’s already going out of style. The new kid in town is a natural user interface – Post-Touch as a number of industry leaders are calling it. Post-Touch is basically an interface that goes past the requirement of touch and can detect gestures usually through some kind of near-field depth camera.
Post-Touch Tech Available Today
The Kinect is one such technology for Post-Touch interfaces that I’ve written about before. In my current project at the DCOG-HCI Lab at UCSD, we are implementing an augmented workspace that uses the Kinect to detect interactions with the workspace. By tracking users and their hand movements, the workspace can respond in an intelligent manner.
For e.g. have you ever pulled something up on the screen while taking notes only to have the computer assume you are idle and turn off the screen? An augmented workspace could detect that your note-taking posture and gaze and keep the screen on. No hand-waving necessary. Of course, if you are actually idling like this fellow at right, it should indeed turn off the screen.
A few months ago, a new company called Leap Motion caused a stir when they demoed their high resolution gesture-tracking module. Similar to the Kinect in features although allegedly not in technology, it offers much greater levels of sensitivity and control. Check out their video below to see the possibilities of the Leap Motion. The company appears to be building steam and I’m excited to see their first product release!
How will Post-Touch change things?
And here, I defer to the experts. You should read this great article on what the future holds for Post-Touch, but I’ll provide some highlights here.
Post Touch is smaller gestures – Michael Buckwald, CEO of Leap Motion
As screens get larger, the gestures get more tiring. Try pretending to move your mouse around your desktop screen. Now try your flat-screen TV. Unless you want to develop one gorilla arm muscle, that’s going to get real tiring real fast. Post-Touch will scale down those gestures so they’re not dependent on screen size.
Post-Touch Cameras Will Come With Every Laptop – Doug Carmean, Researcher-at-Large for Intel Labs
Wow! This was news to me – Carmean says that as early as next year, Logitech near-field depth cameras are going to show up in laptops. This will be a huge boost to the technology. Everyone who buys a laptop is going to be seeking the software solutions that enable it.
And there’s more, so really, read the article! And tell me what you think below.