Interface Free? The ‘un-interface’

August 26, 2006


This is not exactly new. I remember that there was an unofficial version of it floating around YouTube somewhere set to ‘who am I’ by Peter Kruder.

Anyway, Jeff Han, of New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, has developed what he calls an ‘interface free’..err.. interface, which can be manipulated as if it were a three-dimensional interaction with synthetic* media. In other words, a revolution in how we might interact with machines.<br>

Hans’ wonderful demonstration at TED (Technology Entertainment Design) showcases his ability to intuitively navigate several different processes with his fingertips, zooming in, out, up & down almost effortlessly, without the usual constraints of what we have come to know as a standard interface, with a mouse, keyboard etc.

This technology is mind-blowing and couldn’t be on the market soon enough (as long as it was within reach economically mind you).

Han also makes brief mention of how it is ‘a shame’ that with the ‘$100 Laptop initiative’, we will be familiarizing large populations of previously un-networked people to each other with a system that is much less intuitive than it could be. Food for thought. My challenge to Jeff would be to make this very visceral ‘un-interface’ available on those $100 Dollar Laptops. That would take some truly creative thinking… But of course, my hat is way off to these guys.. They’re on to something truly remarkable.

++ I should also mention that TED is a truly fascinating gathering.. In their own words, a ‘pre-release’ of Heaven…Or.. “An opportunity to engage in conversation and dialogue with some of the most interesting and innovative thinkers of our time”. That’s pretty damn close to my definition of Heaven as well. What I wouldn’t give to participate. What I wouldn’t give to be qualified. For now I’m content to be a fly on the digital wall.

*I think the dividing line between ‘synthetic’ and ‘organic’ is becoming more and more blurred by the way.. Maybe more to come on this in the future.. Your thoughts?


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