I’ve included a link to a YouTube video on the vision Microsoft has of the future. Before you go watch it I want you to look at a few specific elements within the video and keep an eye out for them.
1) Gesture interfaces. These are the true future of human computer interaction and computer interface design. Humans still use hand gestures when “talking” to recalcitrant computers.
2) Adaption and adoption of computer anywhere surfaces. This is already starting to occur and we’re about five to ten years away from paint on LCD screens. Self aware, self organizing bots may make that a reality at some point in time. However, specific forms of high strength glass can make it a reality today.
3) Locative aware technologies. These also are a current concept for today however they are hamstrung by the GPS technology conundrum. GPS can’t reach into building. Luckily there are technologies being adapted that can accomplish the same task through a variety of sensors already in the information technology environment. We’re a few software updates away from it being easily doable.
4) Keep an eye out for the Apple iCloud icon in the video. There are couple of Apple items that pop out from time to time.
Some comments on the video:
I think Microsoft is nailing the future vision. I don’t know if they scoped it back to this vision on purpose but all of the technologies as suggested are near term products rather than totally fanciful concepts. In the near term almost everything in the video is possible even if not likely.
There are a couple of enabling technologies required to get all of these to work. Massive wireless capacity far beyond the tiny bit of spectrum would be required to accomplish the host of wireless tasks depicted. A significant leap in battery or wireless power transmission is required. One element I saw was the relative transparency of the display cards being used by individuals. That is a way to make color display even more vibrant without the inherent real color fade of displays currently.
There are issues with some of the concepts that we should think about now while we’re designing the future. How are you going to provide wireless ubiquitous access to information on a variety of technological constructs seamlessly based on user interaction? If you break the systems security model and adopt an awareness of information as a security asset some possibilities become favorable. As an example hyper aware cameras and locative aware technologies can assess reputation of actors in the environment and warn or curtail sensitive information. This does require logic controls and access mechanisms in artificial intelligence that have not been created yet.
How would that work? Imagine you call up your phone number and it is on a public wall/screen. However, there is an individual standing behind you as detected by locative aware technologies and perhaps not even noticed by you. The screen realizes that the person (who may be harmless) is not in your social network portfolio (another security concept for another day) and displays an obsfucated phone number asking for permission and hopefully heightening your awareness of your surroundings. Similarly if you do it on a personal device that is known, the devices camera knows it’s you (by facial recognition, and it is in a safe place) the information may simply display.
There is a lot there to think about.
ETA: There was another thing I noticed that may not be actually perceived by many. Remember when the young lady is riding in the car and the clock is clicking of time to the hotel (15 minutes and counting down)? The hotel is outlined at one point with a (your hotel is here) box on the window display. Now think about that. To outline the hotel the camera position had to line up in a vector with the display box and the hotel (think about the line of sight). So for the lady the box would be off by a long way based on the short distance between her and the window. Figuring out where the eye is and the display is to display that kind of information is huge. That would be one of the biggest leaps possible. As dual vision creatures doing that kind of heads up display in full locative awareness at that kind of accuracy is mind boggling. Then you have to ask about what if there is a second person in the car.