What is the “user interface of tomorrow”? In the past I have chronicled some cool Microsoft Research prototypes of flexible touchscreen interfaces – and even touchless interfaces! And now this month one of my friends in MSR, Mary Czerwinski, has written in Venture Beat that “those types of interfaces could be the tip of the iceberg”:
A whole new set of interfaces are in the works at various stages of research and development… I have colleagues working on tongue-based interaction, bionic contacts lenses, a muscle-computer interface, and brain-computer interaction.” – Mary Czerwinski
Not bad! But working devices along those lines are several years away, so for now we’re stuck with the tablet form-factor as the primary basis for natural input. I’ve used a tablet PC on and off for the past five years, happily. My wife now uses an HP tablet.
So I’ve been eagerly following the blogosphere’s hyperventilation about the much-rumored, still-unseen Apple tablet computer, which has been variously described as being close to launch, far from launch, and non-existent.
In a similar vein, now comes Courier, which tech-blog Gizmodo describes as “Microsoft’s astonishing take on the tablet.” Although rival site Engadget quickly followed with a riposte that Courier “isn’t near production,” Gizmodo’s post last night titled “Microsoft’s Secret Tablet” reports that “we’ve heard that it’s in the ‘late prototype’ stage of development. It’s not a tablet, it’s a booklet.”
The dual 7-inch (or so) screens are multitouch, and designed for writing, flicking and drawing with a stylus, in addition to fingers… On the back cover is a camera, and it might charge through an inductive pad, like the Palm Touchstone charging dock for Pre. Until recently, it was a skunkworks project deep inside Microsoft, only known to the few engineers and executives working on it—Microsoft’s brightest.” – Gizmodo
I’m not vouching for that. Even if all that were true, I couldn’t comment. But now that the concept/demo video has made its way to certain corners of the web – it even hit youTube within the past hour – I can certainly repost it here legitimately as merely an interesting take on how multitouch and gesture-interfaces can make the use of advanced computing as natural as opening a book. Take a look…
Note: For more information on Mary Czerwinski’s work visit the Visualization and Interaction (VIBE) Research Group site, which includes her own research focus on novel information visualization, interaction techniques, and user interface design.
Filed under: innovation, Microsoft, R&D, Technology Tagged: | Apple, Apple Tablet, bionic, blogosphere, brain-computer, camera, computer, Courier, enGadget, Gizmodo, GUI, HP, inductive, info-viz, information visualization, infoviz, interface, Mary Czerwinski, Microsoft, Microsoft Courier, Microsoft Research, MSR, multi-touch, multitouch, muscle-somputer, natural user interface, NUI, Palm, Palm Pre, Palm Touchstone, Pre, prototype, R&D, research, secret, skunkworks, tablet, tech, Technology, touch, Touchless, UI, video, visualization, web, youTube