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Cutting Edge Computer Interfaces? 106

Senate Staffer asks: "I am doing some research for U.S. Senator on technology advancements, specifically in the field of computer interfaces. Human-Computer interface tools have not changed for quite some time. The keyboard was grandfathered from the type-writer, and although there have been advancements (ergonomic designs, different key layouts, even different shapes), the basic function has not changed. The mouse was a major new advancement for computers, and again, although there have been advancements (track-balls, optical mice, trackpads, etc) the function has remained the same. What cutting edge technologies are being researched today and where? What technologies are currently available to consumers, and what technologies are on the horizon?"
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Cutting Edge Computer Interfaces?

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  • by Bob Cat - NYMPHS ( 313647 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:47PM (#11508475) Homepage
    THIS is how our legislators get info? Through Ask /.?
    • by Requiem Aristos ( 152789 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:52PM (#11508549)
      All things considered this is one of the better ways for them to do it. Otherwise, they'd just be hearing from industry lobbyists (and we all know how forthright they can be).
      • Original poster - if you want some honest insight into where we are headed (or should be headed) : look to fiction. I recommend the following works in order to give a good recommendation as to where the dollars could be best invested for a brighter tomorrow :

        Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. It pays particular attention to the user interface of tomorrow, and the dangers of letting one entity own all the bandwidth (and the dangers of off-shoring.)
        Neuromancer by William Gibson. He invented the phrase 'Cybers
    • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @06:18PM (#11508896) Homepage Journal
      Wouldnt asking Slashdot the largest geek forum better than paying a bunch of college kids making phone calls blindly from the phone book?

      You want to know what the people are thinking, you goto the people. Slashdot would have a very large userbase of tech users, good place to ask Slashdot.

      I heard a statement that I think came from Charles E. Merrill, that he use to walk around the mall to see what people bought, so he knew what to invest in. You goto the people buying and using the product to get information.

      Is Slashdot a bad place to ask these questions, no. Its not only a news forum, its a discussion forum, always has been. Its not just News for nerds, its a open forum to discuss these things.

    • why not let the Senator know that the people he's supposedly representing think copyright has gotten out of hand and software patents exist only to serve as corporate welfare.

      There's tax dollars well-spent asking Slashdot.

  • Which? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by christopherfinke ( 608750 ) <> on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:48PM (#11508489) Homepage Journal
    I am doing some research for U.S. Senator
    Is this a specific senator or just the Senate in general? And if it's a specific one, I'd enjoy knowing which senator is funding technological research?
  • These people... (Score:4, Informative)

    by One Div Zero ( 851169 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:49PM (#11508513)
    These people have always been at the forefront of HCI design...

    Xerox PARC laboratory projects []
    Some more projects []
  • Haptics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FlipmodePlaya ( 719010 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:55PM (#11508583) Journal
    I'm not well versed on it, but check Wikipedia for information on haptics []. I remember seeing a pen-like control device at the SIGGRAPH conference this year, that would track your movements with it in 3D space. Combined with force feedback, they described future implementations of this as incredible tools for surgeons, which I suppose it could be. Fun for 3D desktops and games, too.
    • I have worked a little bit with Haptics back in 1999. The hardware was Phantom from SensAble [] and the software was from Reach In [].

      My job at the time was to find new useful applications for Haptics, that were not in the medical field.
      Apart from games and widgets (buttons, sliders etc), we built a wind surfing simulator which could teach the user about how wind drag works.
      We also investigated 3D (marking) menus with "magnetic" grid-lines and industrial and artistic/craft applications (jewelery, dentistry) w

  • by jgardn ( 539054 ) <> on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:55PM (#11508591) Homepage Journal
    For the blind, voice recognition and synthesis is becoming more and more advanced. I imagine a (near) future day when more and more non-blind people will interact with their voice and ears.

    I'd also look into all the research that has been done in various disorders and disabilities that have to do with viewing, hearing, typing, and moving a mouse. Some of these things have made it into mainstream use. For instance, the research done to make colors more visible to the colorblind has affected how (professional) people design websites nowadays.

    Take for instance what has been done for those people mostly paralyzed or incapable of controlling their extremities. We have technology to track ones eyes. One day, we won't have to use mice to control a cursor or select things. Just look and blink.

    Combine this with voice recognition, we'll be able to look at a text form widget, and say the words to fill in, then blink to hit "submit".

    One other system that is important is handwriting and OCR. Being able to write in boxes in a paper form and then scan that image in, having the computer read the form, is a breakthrough. It isn't being used much yet, but I think it is going to be used more and more.

    I strongly believe that in the future, we'll have to understand computers less and less because they will understand us more and more. The pinnacle of computing is when we will relate to computers the same way people relate to each other. When they understand every nuance, every motion, every word, and even the intonation, then we will have made a computer that no one has to understand to use.
    • What you want is called a Mentat []. It understands people very well and relates to them as people relate to each other. It understands nuance, motion, word, and intonation, and the interface is immediately accessible to anyone. The pinnacle of computing without "computers".
    • I already use MacOS' text-to-speech code with AOL Instant Messenger to have my computer speak IMs to me out-loud as I recieve them, and it's extremely handy. Unfortunately, even though Windows XP includes text-to-speech code, there's no way to get the Windows version of AIM to do the same thing-- and there's no other IM client that uses text-to-speech.

      What we really need is the *developers* to install some of these new interface ideas into their programs, as AOL did with AIM, and then we'll see how people
    • Dasher [] is a pretty interesting new way to interact with text. (In fact I wrote this note with Dasher.)
      Dasher is an information-efficient text-entry interface, driven by natural continuous pointing gestures. Dasher is a competitive text-entry system wherever a full-size keyboard cannot be used.
      But you really have to see it in action to understand what it is and how it works.
  • Gesture interfaces (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mercuryresearch ( 680293 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:55PM (#11508594) Journal

    You mentioned trackpads, but the stuff from fingerworks [] goes a bit beyond this and supports a gesturing interface. I've used one for about a year and bought several as backups (the thing is incredibly durable) just because I know I'll never be able to live without it again.

    I also recall a demo -- sorry, no link -- that used webcam-style cameras to watch eye movements and use that as part of the active window selection process. There was another demo at Intel Developer Forum last year that did something similar, but turned off a notebook's display when you weren't looking at it to save power.

    • Looked at those Finderworks products and they look sweet. A little expensive but the gesturing interface is not only intuitive.

      [q] How is the feel of the keyboard though? Is the keyboard textured in any way so you can feel where home row is or do you have to look down to find home?

      Cool with the Mac Laptop keyboard replacement too.
      • Doooh! - Tydo... er ...Typo
      • I have several of the iGesture pads, and love them. I got the keyboard, but frankly it was too far of a stretch for me. I supposed I would have gotten used to it if I'd given it more time -- others have raved about the keyboard as well -- but it's simply a flat lexan surface with a tiny bump on two letters on the home row. There's a very slight roughness to it so that's it's not glass smooth, but that's it.

        The problem I had with the keyboard primarily is that I have pretty lazy fingers, and if you don't to
      • I have a Fingerworks keyboard I'm typing this with right now and I love it. If this thing ever breaks I'll buy a new one the same day. I spend a lot of time at my computer, like many of us, and I realized right away that three hundred bucks was a triviality when compared to the utility of this keyboard. It is well worth the money.

        The only thing that is difficult about this keyboard is -- and this will sound strange -- typing. Everything else is easy. "Everything else" means the gestures, I guess: the keybo
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:58PM (#11508625)
    I've lied about my qualifications to get a job, and now I'm in way over my head.

    Please bail me out.

  • Does anyone have the link to the cell that had sensors attached to it, and it was flying a flight simulator?
  • HCI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @06:02PM (#11508675)
    Okay, so you have your keyboard interface. This is always undergoing some modification, sometimes radical, most times less so. The standard QWERTY layout vs Dvorak, of course, but then you have your ergonomic vs straight layout argument, as well as chording keyboards, keyboards drawn with light, keyboards that can fold up, keyboards with decent keys (Hello, Model M, I love you!), etc.

    You gotcher mouse, trackball, and mutant variations and combinations thereof, including tablets. Add force feedback and stir, where appropriate (slow down the mouse over window controls, etc.). Oh yeah, don't forget the whole wireless vs wired argument, plus security or lack thereof implied therein.

    You gotcher touchscreens (icky), and yer voice command, and then, we come at last to voice recognition and haptic interfaces.

    The thing is, humans have a limited number of ways to enter information, and depending on the nature of the information, it's going to probably have to come down to keyboards or voice recognition (or handwriting recognition) for _entering_ information.

    For _manipulating_ information, you have a lot more choices, but doing so efficiently depends heavily on the nature of the information being manupulated. If you're editing a video, the appropriate efficient interface is probably going to be vastly different from that of editing plain text. And there's always going to be a personal preference entering the equation (e.g. some prefer trackballs over mice, some prefer pen & tablet over either).

    I don't want an interface that uses scent or taste, thanks. :)
    • Editing Video. oh the matrix interface. Now that's how you edit images, and video content. With standard keyboards for text.

      A much better way to edit images. Of course digital creation techinques, will have to be adjusted. New toys. yea baby.
  • Well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by captnitro ( 160231 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @06:06PM (#11508730)
    There aren't a whole lot that come to mind, and I think that's the problem.

    Somebody once said, though I can't remember the book, that a word processor did most of the same things it does now, twenty years ago, except that now we have rounded corners. The illustration is vague, but it serves to point out that there haven't been huge breakthroughs in the way we work, despite incredibly advanced technologies sitting on our doorstep. Whether this is good or bad, make your own call.

    I, personally, think there are better solutions to things like top-screen menus, and file management. The number one question I get asked about in various levels of IT support is what damn function is in what damn menu. It's hard for many people to remember which functions belong to which menus, especially because we have so many menus that give no clue to the functions they hold -- e.g., File->Exit is a holdover from the days when you couldn't open more than one document. Similarly, Edit->Preferences is a good guess, except that most people associate Edit with file content, not program-level preferences, especially when there's often another menu under Tools for different options.

    There's got to be a better way, said some guy, hopefully soon.

    I always find it interesting that if we had taken any modern system back to 1985, the interface features that would be most ooed at would be the eyecandy, but not the productivity of the interface, since that's largely stayed the same. We still use a point and click interface for everything, and we still hold the contents of our programs in a computer-oriented interface, not a human-oriented interface -- the window. Clever solutions exist for rebottling some of these problems, e.g., scroll wheels on mice, different keyboards and input devices, and Expose, but it's still a situation that could be radically different. I'm just not sure how yet.

    Many of the technologies we use now are no different than the ones created in the 1970s to solve these problems, but things have changed. An increasing number of novice users, handicapped users, etc., make many of these solutions a little too narrow. E.g., my mother, who is nearly blind and uses a screenreader, has pointed out many problems I would have never thought of as anything but accessibility issues, but they're not -- they're all interface design issues.

    Now, I'm not suggesting that we talk to our computers tomorrow and then Hack Teh Gibson with our nintendo powergloves, but many of these interfaces are arcane. I'd like to see more seamless, fluid transition between programs, for example -- I should be able to use the text-editing features of Word when submitting a comment, or I should be able to insert Flash documents into my background art if I own Flash. More modular.

    I'm just not sure how to do it yet.
    • Re:Well.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jhoger ( 519683 )
      I'd say things have gotten worse since the 80's.

      For example, a common interface for old laptops (Model 100, 102, 200, 600, NEC 8201A, NEC8300, NEC 8500 etc.) was a main screen which shows a tabular list of say, 30 files and programs. You moved around with the arrow keys and picked what you wanted to work on. When you enter a program it forces you to pick a filename. You never need to "Save," similar to PalmOS.

      No subdirectories. If you exit your program, you're back at the simple menu.

      If you hit on a tex
      • Re:Well.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by captnitro ( 160231 )
        Excellent points, thank you.

        Just now, I decided to find how many files where in my home directory. 48,125 in 3,096 folders over about 25 GB, and I have at least four times that amount on other accounts on other machines -- not to mention, none of this is source code, so it's not headers and little text documents cluttering my clusters. And the issue is, hierarchy becomes inefficient very quickly as the number of files increase. The only way I can find anything any more is by searching -- and I suspect this
        • I know everyone's going to consider me the Mac zealot, but what we need is the equilivant of the Macintosh inventors... a close-knit group of really smart and creative people working to create something that is not only unique from everything else out there, but better than everything else out there.

          (Ok, ok, arguably they didn't succeed. But some of their ideas were tremendous, the small basic ones, and still haven't been adopted by the PC world. For instance, Macs have a 'Return' key to add a new line o
          • For instance, Macs have a 'Return' key to add a new line of text and an 'Enter' key to send information to the computer. These are two very different and distinct functions, but on PCs, the 'Enter' key does both. The Macintosh way, in this case, just makes more sense.

            Many keyboards predating the Mac had this feature. For instance, IBM's venerable and widespread 3270 terminal (first introduced in the early '70s!) had both Enter and Return keys. The DEC vt100 also did, although the vt100's enter key was l
            • Interesting. I didn't know that. I wonder why IBM decided to make only a single Enter key instead of adding a Return key for the PC if they'd already had two keys in previous products?
          • In many applications on the PC you can use Enter to send data to the comptuer and Shift-Enter to throw a carriage return in there (ie, a Return key.)

            You can also use CTRL S and CTRL Q to send the computer a 'please stop sending me data until further notice (transmit off / XOFF)' and 'resume sending me data (transmit on / XON)', respectively, when the computer is streaming data to you (like in communications software, telnet, terminal emulators, etc.)
            • Of course I realize you can use shift-enter in many applications, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a problem. For instant, in IM software, you're much more likely to need return than enter... (at least, you would be if people typed correctly in IM clients, but because of the whole Enter key thing, most people don't.)

              Normal people don't use telnet, terminal emulators, etc so I won't bother replying to that point.
          • I'd like to have a big lever for carriage return, with a bell that sounds when you use it. Would that be possible?
        • Re:Well.. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Glonoinha ( 587375 )
          ZTree []

          That's the one you are looking for - character based user interface using Win32 API for file manipulation. It is a shareware release of XTreeGold from the early 90's with a cult following dating back to about 1986. It won just about every user interface award known to man until it got dropped in about 1995.

          Basically it recursively reads your entire drive (or a subset) and all the directories, gets the file names, sizes, attributes (RASH), dates, and directory structure, presents it in a multi-box
          • I forgot the best part - totally keyboard driven so you aren't swapping back and forth between the keyboard and mouse. 100% of your interaction is at the keyboard so no wasted effort or movement - I have peers at work that joke about it being the 'Matrix' UI because it is only marginally more graphical than the green screens in the movie, and because I can become one with the machine when I am using it.

            OP: come up with a single piece of hardware to replace the discrete components 'keyboard' and 'mouse' or
        • Even still, I think these problems require a radically new way of thinking about the future of computing.

          Maybe you're looking for the Tunes Project []

          A running TUNES system will have many features that are just unimaginable on current systems (see below). Many of them are seperately implemented as isolated pieces of software on various different systems. Only by basing the system on semantics-based reflectivity can these features truly be integrated, and whatever other features users will develop, to be dy

  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @06:10PM (#11508783) Homepage Journal
    I think with people gathering more data, and data warehousing coming to your house (pics/movies/music/etc). Being able to find your data is the next advance. This is why Microsoft is working on a new file system for longhorn and why Google released a desktop search engine.

    As for the GUI, I think its more autocomplete of processes, to reduce manual steps.

    The biggest problem I see is forcing interactive moments on a busy user. Nothing is worse in the middle of typing a document and a popup window of some kind, flash in the tool tray until im ready.

    And with people multitasking, I dont need a program to tell me its done in the middle of working on something else.

    Displaying information while not forcing the user to interact is the next step. We are doing much more than before, multiple programs, multiple tasks, we need to curb the "In your face" attitude of the Gui.

    While AI with interactive voice chat would be nice, unless its a virtual lawyer that can answer my questions or a hot stripper, I doubt I'm going to be using voice chat on a operational process.

    Voice chat for games is another thing, when your busy, you cant stop to type, talking to the group saves time, and reaction time is quicker.

    Of course these are my thoughts and views of current trends. Microsoft research and Cambridge labs are good places to check out. Cambridge ran the research lab that helped oversee VNC and other cool products, under Olivetti and then ATT Labs.

    I think there is much more work todo in the modern desktop before we go onto new user input/output methods.

    Top hottest things, tabs, info bars, task switching, searching, auto-complete, realtime filtering (spellcheck/etc), history of input, sharing of data with other hard (bluetooth/etc) are IMHO the current impressive new features. And if not new, just easier use or new methods of using the same procedures in a differnt way.

    Too bad 2005 isnt going to see many new features, end of year with dual core, new gfx cards, the hardware to take advantage will launch 2006 for new features. But at least with SLI and faster CPUs, this year will be good for gaming until we get there. :)

    • I actually wrote a research paper on this as an undergraduate at UC Irvine.

      I built a bank of LED lights, connected to a Phidgets [] kit board, and wrote a Java interface to monitor web pages and my POP3 inbox. When something changed, the interface software would strobe the light grid instead of popping up a dialog or something. That way, you could be barely conscious of a new event, but it wasn't distracting enough to actually grab your attention unless you were looking for it.

      I wish I hadn't had to give
      • Thanks for a new favorite in my browser - I will give that one more thought when I get more time to tinker. Having the computer drive material components out side the computer is the first step in making computers more useful in the next evolution.

        Any chance your code is out there for us wanna-be's to read in order to jumpstart our play with the Phidgets?
    • Check on that stupid, horrible habit of computers to popup things while you are typing. In particular, if I open a web browser, immediately start typing in the bar and then the friggin thing goes to its home page and changes the URL.

      Or another windows pops up and you type your password or something into that. I accidentally IM'ed my root password to someone like that the other day.

      One simple solution would be NOT to change the window focus when the user had been typing anything during the last 5 seconds o
  • by TheVoice900 ( 467327 ) <> on Friday January 28, 2005 @06:10PM (#11508798)
    Such as these []. We have some here in the lab at school that I had a chance to play with, really interesting. Applications include training surgeons, 3D modelling, and no doubt many others.
  • 3D visualization (Score:3, Informative)

    by kinema ( 630983 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @06:18PM (#11508904)
    Companies like SGI [] spend a lot of time and money working on visualization systems [] that allow for multiple people to be immersed in a synthetic 3D world. SGI's Reality Center [] wall [] room [] systems are quite impressive.
  • I think the new interfaces you are looking for are in the exciting (literally) new field of Cyberdildonics []. Such wonderful new interfaces as the Robosuck, Vibro Mr. Jack, etc.

  • Was it slashdot or Wired [or perhaps both!] which had an article regarding preliminary research into direct mental control of computers? I don't remember too well. The actual article was interesting, as the researcher in question [at Duke iirc?] managed to learn/devise something unexpected. They had gotten to the point where the chimp could control a robotic arm via neural implants.
    • I saw something like this on the Discovery Science channel about a week ago. A man who suffered from a stroke and lost control of his body was able to move a cursor by thinking about it. It took months for him to be able to do this, but it is pretty amazing to see that level of human/computer interaction. It's good to see advances in that area of science that can help those people who are unable to communicate with the outside world.
      • I think voice recognition and eye tracking are going to cause people to suffer from the same repeditive stress injuries that the keyboard and mouse are inflicting on people today.

        When I was younger I didn't really believe in carpel tunnel. I just thought the hypochondriacs were at it again. But ten years of typing and mousing have just killed my wrists. If I bang them funny, my whole wrists will turn numb.

        Anyway I suspect that constant blinking and talking are going to cause similar problems. Not only tha

  • Aside from the listing in the original article there are a few more

    Several posts have listed voice recognition and speech synthesis. This is great for the blind, disabled, or those of us with carpel tunnel and eye strain. Combined with translation software it can provide a great advantage to communications, and even has military applications. Google "Phraselator". Troops use it to translate a limited number of phrases into Arabic or whatever. Definitely a field where better software and more computing
  • There hasn't been much new stuff that I've seen. There are a few updates to old ideas (optical mice, for example), and a few reassignments of old devices to new uses - scroll-wheels on mice should be familiar to anyone who has played Arkanoid. There have been a lot of old ideas that have just recently become refined and/or cheap enough to reach the consumer market, such as touchscreens and tablets.

    But I haven't seen anything truly new - and no, 3D mice don't count.

    I think the issue is that there are no
    • That said, the thing I would really like to have is a decent system for tracking where I'm looking that will work with anyone who sits down at the computer, no matter what their posture. With that in place, I want to replace all of the old window focusing schemes with "focus follows eyes." I'd still want to use the mouse for selecting text boxes and clicking on things, though

      This reminded me of something I remember seeing a while back. It was this device for people with muscular dystrophy (md) so that th
  • The first is the haptic glove line from Immersion Corp []. At my old office we had a Sensable Phantom, which was somewhat neat in a "that's completely useless" sort of way, but this one really excites me. If the market for these grew and the price came down, I think it would be a great breakthrough for games and other simulations in particular. Imagine playing Black & White with one of these!

    The second is an entire new field, combining bioinformatics and computing closer than ever. Brain-Computer Int

  • sign language (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arron_nz ( 846050 )
    My Daddy came up with a good idea recently. Using one of those CyberGlove-type things, one could enter information into a computer using deaf-dumb sign language using a trained AI program. He says it would probably be faster than keyboard input. I'm working on it for my 5th Form science project..
    • It will need automagic grammar sensing: as far as I am aware, people automatically recognise a declined verb, or when the noun or verb sense of a word is required. I think that some learning neural networks and five years of PhD study might fill that gap in your technology. :-P
    • but don't let the last poster stop you - fantastic idea.
  • in favor of laser projection systems which allow you to interact with the projected image. And you won't really think of it as interacting with a computer.

    Re voice interfaces, Intel has been saying that it will be around the time CPUs hit the 10 GHz range.

  • Much of the cutting edge research in user interfaces, both in software and hardware, has been published at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. Take a gander at the last five years, starting from the 2004 conference site [].

  • Especially the braille buttons on a drive-through ATM. The day I see a blind guy using a drive-through ATM I'm giving up computers to make a living making childrens toys.

    Ed Almos
    Budapest, Hungary
    • Do you think that NCR makes two kinds of ATMs? Drive-thru and walk up? No, they make one standard model that all have Braille keys. If the bank decides to install it in a driveway that's their business. That's why they have Braille on "drive-thru" ATMs.
  • If you're looking for cutting edge HCI research, go to where the researchers are: the universities. Here's a pretty exhaustive directory [] of HCI educational links, university departments, etc.

    I'm currently taking some HCI grad school courses at Tufts [], and the department head is doing a lot of work in the field of Tangible User Interfaces [].

  • the twiddler is a one handed keyboard and pointing device. proficient users are able to type faster than qwerty keyboards enable. used in wearable computers, and just cool.

    unfortunately the #$@$'s are charging $200+. thankfully i'm out of college soon and will hopefully be making money after that. anyone rouge dev shacks looking for a world class hacker + ace communicator?

  • I've been doing a lot of research on voice recognition software lately, as the school I work at has a student with MS we'd like to help be a litle more independent in his computer work. I've been playing with it since Apple first bundled it with OS 7, and it seems like it's just on the cusp of actually being usable - even on a handheld.

    I'd say whoever puts some research into how to write the UI for voice input and does it right will be well ahed of the game in a few years.

  • I would keep my eye on implants that allow direct access to the brain.

    One person who is a quadriplegic recently (this past year) had a chip implanted. He can now control things by thinking about it.

    Here are some other articles from a google and some things I have marked...

  • From what I hear from pals, much of the interesting interface work is in ubiquitous computing []. The basic notion is that we're reaching the end of the era where the computer is an appliance that you go to like a stove or a refrigerator. Instead, computers get woven more closely into everyday life, including handhelds, wearables, and smart furniture []. Although today it's mainly science fiction [] and art projects [], I'm hearing interesting stories from friends about research prototypes.
  • I'd suggest a virtual reality 3D interface, but it's pretty clear that the White House and Congress are operating in a virtual reality already .

    I just hope their next level isn't called "Knee Deep In The Dead".
  • Granted, it has limits but the tech hasn't come out of the shop enough to be really explored- [] There have been several like it in the last few years with lots of neat uses- mostly design your own interface on the fly or planning /flowcharting apps.
  • Well, in classic Trek, they just talked to the computer for mundane commands. Spock had this tablet looking thing with a stylus occasionally. Large banks of blinking lights seemed ubiquitous and perhaps they could interpret them As Seen in the Matrix(tm).

    The old Trikorder's seemed pretty cool, some kind of PDA on steriods and apparently kitted out with a variety of sensors such that it could record vast amounts of scientific data, audio, video, and who knows what else it did.

    Later Trek's seemed to show yo

  • 1-Holodeck, you get a full virtual suit with helmet, gloves, foots etc... (like in the Lawnmower movie) 2-3D holographic projector with humanoid interactive interface, you just ask the humanoid what you want him to do and he does it(like in the Andromeda sci-fi series).
  • This seems like an odd line of inquiry for a US Senator, as other posters have alluded.
    I'm interested in hearing the explanation behind this inquiry.
  • grandfathered? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    You are using grandfathered in a strange sense.
    ITYM that the typewriter interface was the father of the computer keyboard.

    3D and speech have been in the works as I/O interfaces since the 60's. Neither seem destined to replace the current devices. The problem is that they lack the precision of typing and pointing devices. Speech has had inroads in the telephone area where the alternative is the keypad.

    The best interface in current use which has not been applied to computers is ASL. The deaf currently r
  • say nouse []

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.