[на рус.яз. см. предыдущий пост]

In this part let's talk about the interfaces of electronic devices.

Outset that we will not consider the time in the future, when a person becomes part of a computer or computer becomes part of man. In addition, it should be noted that the interface of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) and computers is gradually becoming common, so let's consider just a computer interface.

Classically we always distinguish between information input devices and information output devices. But with the advent of touchscreens the difference between these concepts began to fade. So in this post, we are primarily interested in control of the computer and interaction between human and device regardless of the method of information output (projector, transparent screen or hologram).
Let us give some examples of interfaces of the future.
First there is the vision of designers and developers of mobile interfaces of the future. 

Mozilla Searbird

Empathy BlackBerry

Amazing Screen Technology: Samsung Flexible AMOLED

It so happened that a sample of the user interface of the future in mass media, including professional media, is the interface that was used the character of Tom Cruise in the movie «Minority Report».

«Minority Report»

Next, we present two lectures from TED, which refer to this film. «Sixth sense technology» of Pattie Maes, MIT professor, head of the group of Media Lab, is an interesting video as a simple kit costing only $ 350 with software and Internet connection can greatly change our lives, including replacing a number of everyday items.

«Sixth sense technology» Pattie Maes

And there is a lecture of the inventor John Underkoffler, Chief Scientist of Oblong Industries, who worked in MIT Media Lab, who was the scientific adviser of movies Minority Report, Iron Man, The Hulk, Aeon Flux. John demonstrates similar interface The g-speak platform directly on the lecture.

John Underkoffler points to the future UI

A variant of development of this platform is product Mezzanine, which was recently presented as a spatial operating environment for collaborative multi-user work.


It should be mentioned that in October 2011 Microsoft introduced technology OmniTouch, which enables you to project a multi-touch graphical user interface to almost any surface. 


For a long time, many inventors, laboratories and companies explore this area and periodically introduce the public with the results and their vision of user interfaces.
Thus, the Swedish group TAT, which in December 2010 became a part of Research In Motion (BlackBerry, PlayBook), presented his vision of the user interface for mobile devices.

TAT Mobile UI

One occasion Cisco has presented its vision of shopping.

The Future of Shopping from Cisco

Incidentally, in May 2011 in Moscow TopShop established a virtual fitting room in his flagship store in the mall "European". Fitting room was made by AR Door, an official representative of Total Immersion (France) in Russia.
Researches at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are developing future operational environments for the emergency management community called Precision Information Environments (or PIEs).

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

It is also interesting to see a concept video of the Japan's bid to hold the World Cup in 2022.

World Cup, the Next Generation (Concept Video of Japan's Bid)

More recently at the end of October 2011 Microsoft presented its vision of user interfaces.

Microsoft's Vision of the Future

So, if the modes of interaction or control classified, we obtain the following.
1) The existing traditional control methods.
Now we use keyboards, mice, trackballs, touchpads, joysticks, remote controls, etc.
Pros and cons of such control are well known.
2) Voice control.
It should be noted that the voice output of information is quite affordable, the computer can talk.
It is much harder with voice input. It is considered that the problems with the recognition of words are almost solved. Of course there are linguistic features and specific user characteristics, but finely tuned program recognizes words without much problems. Of course if there is a large base of words and expressions, that located in a "cloud", in recognition system servers, which are accessible through the Internet. But in the present interpretation of recognized words is poor, because it requires artificial intelligence, sooner or later.
However, this factor does not stop the developers. Quite a long time, there are special programs on the websites of some companies. The so-called robots-assistants answer visitors' questions. For example, Apple introduced system Siri for voice recognition together with its new iPhone 4S. 

Apple iPhone 4S Siri Demo

The advantages of voice control: intuitiveness of simple commands, free hands and free eyes.
Disadvantages of voice control: slow input of complex commands, high probability of errors, in the general case impossibility of plug'n'play due to the need of forming the base of commands and settings to a specific user.
At present voice control is suitable for more or less simple situations, such as smart home.
3) Gesture control.
This type of control has become known to masses primarily due to Microsoft Kinect, by the way in a short time this device will be released not only for the game console Xbox, but for ordinary computers and other electronic devices. 

The Kinect effect

Advantages of gesture control: contactless control, intuitiveness of a large number of commands.
Disadvantages of gesture control: the need to initiate, low accuracy of gesture recognition, the need to remember of non-obvious gestures, high probability of errors, absence of common standards for use and display gestures.
At present gesture control is most appropriate to control various media devices.
4) BCI - Brain-Computer Interface.
Scientists have begun to explore the possibilities of this type of control in the early twentieth century. Naturally prototype of BCI device is a polygraph or lie detector.   
The best known device is EPOC by Emotiv, which is already available in the shop. This device is a headset with sensors that uses EEG technology.

EPOC – EEG Navigation

Advantages of BCI: potentially the fastest command input, potentially the possibility of command input of any complexity, free hands and free eyes.
Disadvantages of BCI: complex implementation, additional devices (sensors, helmets, etc.), high probability of errors, special attention to safety in the control of real objects, the need to calibrate for a particular user.
In principle BCI may be suitable for control of any devices. Soon we'll see it and try, for sure it will be very exciting. In the near future, vendors will focus on applying this technology in gaming and navigation.
4) Other types of controls, including the rather exotic.
We present an example.
Perhaps you've seen the latest film Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, where a character uses a bionic contact lens for image projection. One of the first developers of this technology is Babak Parviz from the University of Washington. Possible applications of this technology are well illustrated in a slightly biased concept video iLens.

Apple iLens Concept

And now imagine if we combine this technology with the technology of eye movement control. Then we do not need any screens and any controllers!
A consortium of Australian scientists Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) has moved a step further, they produced chip, essentially replacing the eye. The chip is implanted into the eye of a blind man and sends a signal from a special camera in the glasses directly into the brain. It is obvious that the integration will take place this system with the BCI. The result of this combination will be part of the future human.
One more example.
Rosalind Picard's research from MIT Media Lab dedicated to changes in the interaction between human and computer by building emotional interfaces, affective computers. This research based on the works in which describes the involuntary microexpressions, vocal emotional expression and galvanic skin response of man. If you are using emotional interface the security system will react to the man fear, the game console will be able to adjust the difficulty level in response to user frustration, the music player will be able to compile a playlist that corresponding to the mood of the listener.

Let us formulate some tendencies of development of perspective interfaces.
At the present stage of development of alternative interfaces, we are confronted with the fact that there is a need for additional confirmation of important and critical commands, including for safety purposes, and through the traditional methods (using the mouse, keyboard, keypad, etc.). Combinations of different methods and devices will be used in the control still quite a long time.
Perhaps in the near future vendors will release interfaces that can be changed as advanced users and beginners. For example, you can replace all the items by selecting a profile (such as in a mobile phone) or can replace the individual elements (color, size, font, labels, form buttons, etc.). Probably there will be interfaces that can be changed by users.
Undoubtedly we will see specialization of interfaces. Professional interfaces will be more complex, using a variety of additional devices (gloves, handling, control panels, etc.), and will specialize in areas of activity, operator functions, etc. Further the interfaces will be divided into consumer and professional, which will be subdivided by specialization.
Recently an intuitive interface was considered most appropriate. At the moment the trend of expansion of adaptive interfaces is the most actual. Here is an analogy with the robotic automatic transmission of car, which adapts to the type of driving a particular driver. Previously, the user intuitively operated, and now the system adapts and adjusts the commands. At the same time the adaptive interface solves several problems: superfluous complexity of the interface, the excessive choice, varying degree of user training, etc. Adaptive interfaces will be developed.
Virtual fitting rooms, navigators, which projecting the image on the windshield of the car, transparent displays are evidence of penetration of augmented reality in our lives. Augmented reality will be used in most interfaces.
And, of course, this area will be exposed to gamification, including professional interfaces, and especially mobile and web-interfaces. Gamification will affect a large number of interfaces.
In conclusion, we must mention two factors that influence the development of interfaces the opposite. The first factor is a constant complication of devices and services, which results to a complication of interfaces in principle. The second factor is the further penetration of the same devices and services in more countries, in different social strata and age groups, which results to a simplification of interfaces in principle. Presumably, the average user will not be overloaded interfaces. Mass user interfaces will be simple.

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