In a recent post (Interfaces of the Future?) I included a video of Jefferson Han’s multi-touch interface. Well I found this one the other day that goes a long way towards answering many of the questions I posed:
It’s real! And notice the mention of “the $100 laptop”? Are we all going to be walking around with these things under our arms in a couple of years?
Toby Godden is a Year 2 student on the BA (Hons) Interactive Digital Media course at Swansea Metropolitan University. Toby has a highly fertile brain that effortlessly spins off more ideas than he can cope with. He totally ‘gets’ the Internet, and has a portfolio of domains that illustrate his creativity and diversity:
In a recent Alertbox column Jakob Nielsen looked at the way computer interfacing was represented in films and on TV. I’m not going to reiterate the content of his fine article here, but it did get me thinking about our preconceptions and expectations of the interfaces we use (or wish we used).
There are a whole series of interrelated problems, all based around the fundamental problem of too much information: too much to fit on screen, too much to manipulate, too much to think about. So – the theory goes – there must be some better way to manage this than the current QWERTY keyboard and mouse paradigm that dominates mainstream computing…
How about this:
Impressive huh? Or is it all smoke and mirrors set to a cool soundtrack? Looking at it closely, we can see that it’s simply a touch screen, but one that has multiple simultaneous sensing points. What’s more, there’s a shot of two people working on the machine together, so one can only guess that it recognizes somewhere around 16-20 sensing points at any one time. Apart from the nice-looking but probably-not-all-that-useful lava lamp blobs, examples of programs being used in the video include image manipulation software, word games, text entry, a Missile Command-type game, a real-time music program such as Max/MSP, and some kind of activity using molecular objects. There’s also evidence of a working toolbar. So, yes, impressive actually.
Evidence, then, of a functioning example of an innovative computer interface, albeit in a university research lab. Is it realistic to expect interfaces like this to appear in the near future? Is it Tomorrow’s World or Star Trek? Well:
Sorry, I’m not trying to jump on the “isn’t the iPhone fabulous” bandwagon but it’s interface – which you’ll note features a touch screen that recognizes at least two simultaneous sensing points – is certainly pretty exciting. And it’s on a hand-held device. And it’s coming to a shop near you, very, very soon.
As I mentioned earlier (Fun With CSS2) I’ve spent the last couple of weeks building a website for paying customers. It went live today here. Lots of goodies on it: 15 audio tracks and three YouTube hosted videos.
The excellent photographs were by Gareth Jones at Eden Digital. The audio player was originally built by Elliot Lemberger aka Asiabackpacker and I got it from FlashKit. I only changed it minimally, although I did come up with the idea of stacking them, which I love: very flexible and updateable.
It’s been a challenge, but I’ve learnt a lot. I’m pleased with it. The customer is pleased with it. We’re all happy. Hooray!
I haven’t done that much commercial design work for print – just a couple of small magazine adverts – so this unusual job allowed me to get a bit of practice in without a paying customer peering over my shoulder:
A friend of mine has a) an apiary and b) a shop. Ergo, he makes and sells his own honey. He gave me a dozen or so jars from this year’s crop, a couple of sheets of Avery J8161 labels, and asked me to design a ‘Chloe brand’ label. This is it:
It’s not brilliant, but there we are. Typography is definitely not my forte, for one thing, and I probably should have concentrated more on Chloe’s face. I don’t think I’ve done enough to establish what the ‘Chloe brand’ means or represents, either. Still, it does look good on the jar, and the colour scheme is effective: it would certainly stand out on the shelf.
I’ve been very busy this week: back at work and building a website for a paying client at the same time. This is the first time I’ve properly attempted a full-on web standards-compliant CSS2 site and it’s been, er, fun. Designing and building slick pages certainly seems a lot easier than it used to be: thankfully the days of hacking huge tables when formatting is over. However, up to a point all we’ve done is swap one set of problems for another, the main cause of which remains browser incompatibilities. And, yes, we’re talking about Microsoft as the obligatory bad guys. Why can they not just join in with everyone else? I’m not going to go into the gory details, but a tiresome evening spent scouring the Internet was rewarded when a very nice Norwegian chap from one of the CSS mailing lists provided a suitable fix. Cheers Georg…
My constant companions this week have been:
Jeffrey Zeldman’sDesigning With Web Standards. An excellent book, containing a nice mixture of historical context and useful real-world examples. Zeldman is clearly a bit of a trainspotter when it comes to (X)HTML and browsers: it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! A Top Geezer.
Dan Cederholm’sWeb Standards Solutions. Lots of down-to-earth practical help with the minimum of verbiage getting in the way.
Hello all, Welcome to 3282. This is a new blog that will be about things I’m particularly interested in i.e. narrative, interactivity, medium theory, music technology, design, new media literacy, etc.. Hopefully it’ll be pretty eclectic: it’s all grist to the mill, right?
OK, that’s enough of that: let’s get on with it.
I love this little video: it just makes so many things about sound and vibrating objects so clear. And because it’s video it’s not only showing process, but it’s doing it in a multisensory way: information received by eye and ears is assimilated and compared. Books, static text, are good for some things, but this is what multimedia are good for…
BTW: the normally invisible patterns in the vibrating object are called Chladni patterns.