I’ve spent a fair amount of time on this blog talking about multi-touch interfaces. Nearly three years ago that seemed like cutting-edge stuff, but not any more. Check this out:
I love the way Mistry develops his ideas using very low-tech prototypes: that perspex glove with the four mouse rollers on it is classic Heath Robinson. Some of the examples in the video are clearly mock-ups, but nonetheless I think you’ll agree that a system of this sort could completely change what we mean by the term ‘computing’. It’s conceptually miles ahead of anything else out there at the moment, and the types of opportunity it will offer can barely be imagined.
But is it practicable? What we’re talking about here is a walking around with a device hanging around your neck like a smartphone, but with a miniature projector and reflector added to it. Power—battery life—will be a big issue. You’ll have to wear coloured thimbles on your fingertips whenever you want to use it, and using colour recognition as well as gestural recognition means it will probably only work under certain lighting conditions (unless it has some kind of light-adaptive software built in to it). Widespread use is going to depend on a massive increase in wireless bandwidth and cloud dependence.
I’m sure that the practical issues are all solvable. In a related video they’re talking about it becoming available in 10 years time. I’d be surprised if it was that long, but equally it’s not going to be next year.
Ladies and gentlemen, Pranav Mistry…
[Thanks to Adam Shailer for bringing this video to my attention.]