It’s a fairly common thing for technology gurus to bemoan the backwards state of the computer interface world by saying things like “It’s the 21st century, and I still have to use a mouse and a keyboard to look at my data?! When will this madness end?” Typically people who say this don’t offer alternatives, or the alternatives they do offer are impractically expensive. In
this column Jon Udell makes a passing reference to a talk by certified genius Bran Ferren of Applied Minds, Inc.
Itâ€™s crazy, Ferren says, to think that the â€œtiny soda straw of KVMâ€ can be an effective bridge between the external complexity of the Net and the internal complexity of the human brain.
Yeah, whatever, Bran. Udell is wise enough to add “If your pockets are deep, you can hire Applied Minds to build a 3D haptic interface thatâ€™s exquisitely customized for your data and your tasks. But for most of us thatâ€™s not an option. Weâ€™ll be stuck with the keyboard/video/mouse arrangement for a while.” I always feel like the keyboard/mouse thing has gotten us pretty far and will take us considerably farther. Then again, I’m not a famous pundit. Still, the question has to be asked: what comes next? Some of the fairly obvious stuff is still hard to work out. For example, give me multiple simultaneous “touch points” in the interface. That is, why can’t I have two mice and move two things at once?
So here you go. This is a pretty compelling video from the research folks at NYU of what it might look like to touch the stuff on the other side of your screen. Still, I wouldn’t expect this on your home machine anytime soon. (By the way, my hat’s off to the folks at YouTube for making it darn easy to embed this video. Let me know if this doesn’t work on your machine.)