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"Interface-Free" Touch Screen at TED

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the audience-goes-wild dept.

194

Down8 writes, "Jeff Han, an NYU researcher, has recently shown off his 'interface free' touch screen technology at the TEDTalks in Monterey. Some sweet innovation that I hope makes it to the mainstream soon." The photo manipulation interface is reminiscent of "Minority Report."

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194 comments

Interface-free? (5, Insightful)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638351)

How do you not have an interface?

Re:Interface-free? (1)

jayratch (568850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638361)

I guess it means you don't need to specifically design a touch interface- he's got software to automagically adapt to touch based?

Re:Interface-free? (1)

hords (619030) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638457)

Sure looked like there was an interface on the top of the Google Earth-like software. It is a very cool technology though.

Re:Interface-free? (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638509)

How do you not have an interface?

If it's useless; although you can still load it up with chrome and tailfins if you'd like.

KFG

RTFA (0, Offtopic)

mnmn (145599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638617)

I dont know.
I attempted twice to check out the video but the ad got in the way CNN style. I took about 10 seconds of it and gave up.

No matter how interesting, I'll NEVER bear an ad before a small online video.

Re:RTFA (2, Interesting)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638721)

No matter how interesting, I'll NEVER bear an ad before a small online video.
I think I can help [ie7.com] you [mozilla.org]. Well, in most situations, anyway... hehe.

On topic: I feel this technology really could grow... I would like to see it more like the Nintendo DS. With Dual screens. One being your main form of input. Perhaps by having an overlay application of a scalable keyboard similar to the one featured in the video. And you can use the primary display for, well, display. I dunno. It's late and I'm tired... if you understand what I mean, mod me up! ;-)

Re:Interface-free? (2, Funny)

solitas (916005) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638657)

He doesn't have an interface because he says he doesn't have an interface. That makes all the difference in his world.

Re:Interface-free? (2, Interesting)

fsterman (519061) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638697)

Exactly, you can't have an interface free interface, we are interfacing with the world. Want some really mind blowing interface design work check out Jeff Raskin's The Humane Interface [amazon.com] Go back to the fundamentals of how humans interact with the world, find where we retain the most information, are the fastest to react, what gives us higher error rates, etc and redisign computer interfaces. Imagine an OS without applications or files. That's what he outlines. This is just another input device.

Even if you are not designing an OS, any programmer, designer, or engineer (computer related or not), can gain a lot from this book.

Re:Interface-free? (4, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639107)

I took a gander at that book, and right away as I skimmed the amazon page, I noticed problems. He may be a wonderful cognitive psychologist, but he's no technocrat.

The whole "Why shouldn't my computer take three nanoseconds to turn on, read my mind, and then never ever have errors!!!?!?one1" thing is a very amateur approach to the problem, if you ask me. Sure, it would be nice, but I'm absolutely sure it's technically impossible.

To be more specific:
"There has never been any technical reason for a computer to take more than a few seconds to begin operation when it is turned on."
I can name half a dozen; power consumption for suspend to RAM, system process cleanup for suspend to disk, disk space storage for suspend to disk, driver software that doesn't gracefully handle failing down to a hibernate state, plug-and-play hardware detection on bootup... not to mention the whole raft of problems that occur when users never shut down and clog their system up by never ending processes.

The problem with the view he espouses is that it practically requires a suspend-state, when users aren't good with suspend states. It wasn't until Windows XP and the relatively modern (last three or four years) (okay don't flame me I'm sure SOMEWHERE there was a build that had really optimal suspend, but I couldn't find it) linux systems that suspend really started working, and even so, your device drivers really depend on when you can suspend the system and how it restores.

For example, when I tested Vista on my laptop, the base sound driver would for some reason kill the audio after restore from suspend. It just wouldn't make any noise until it rebooted. When I upgraded the driver, it went away.

It is, in fact, only recently that we have had flashmem and the concept of keeping your 'bootfiles' on a seperate flash partition to read from for a quick boot has been a realistic and close to mainstream idea for the desktop.

The same thing comes up here.
"Why should you have to double-click anything? What does Ctrl+D mean one thing in one program and a completely different thing in another? And what's the point of the Yes/No confirmation if the user is in the habit of clicking Yes without thinking about it?"
All of those things make sense in the context they are being used in, and they're relatively intuitive. After all, it's not the programmers fault the user is an idiot, especially with something as simple as a yes/no dialog box, as long as the dialog box is written in language comprehensible for the designed userbase.

Re:Interface-free? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638885)

"How do you not have an interface?"

Though I get your point, the implication is that it's gesture based instead of requiring on-screen input. It's a misappropriate use of the term, but the idea is effectively communicated.

Interface free? (1)

chanrobi (944359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638355)

So, what exactly what his hands touching during the 9min 23s video?

ohhhhh yeahhhhhh (1)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638855)

So, what exactly what his hands touching during the 9min 23s video?

I'm not sure, but I can tell you what *my* hands were touching during that 9min 23s video.

Great news for people with hand injuries. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638383)

This is a great development for people with hand, finger and wrist injuries. Many of them have profound problems using a keyboard, so a touchscreen like this actually works better. They're not always as efficient as somebody using a typical keyboard, but I've worked with people who can type up to 45 words per minute on such touchscreen devices.

I'm also reminded of this story of a man who seriously injured his hands while blogging [glennwolsey.com]. This is the sort of device he may wish to look into, once it becomes widely available.

Re:Great news for people with hand injuries. (1)

scavenger87 (725098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638961)

For blind people, keyboard with tradiotional buttons is the best known interface, because most of them rely on remembering some typing orders to be able to surf in common Windows menus. This is the case before the speech recognition reaches a satisfying level.

Re:Great news for people with hand injuries. (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639113)

This is a great development for people with hand, finger and wrist injuries.
Producing them, you mean?

Look up "Gorilla Arm Syndrome" if you need a refresher why this and similar approaches have always failed.

Regards,
--
*Art

Shown on CommandN (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638385)

This was shown on CommandN and commented on and blogged to death since FEBRUARY! GOSH!

Re:Shown on CommandN (1)

mjeppsen (621795) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638727)

Indeed, it's been making the rounds for quite some time now. Still, it was a fantastic demo and the technology implementation is nothing short of brilliant. As I noted recently @ FresHDV [freshdv.com]:
"...Sony Vegas just included a new "draw your keyframe vector" type feature in version 7. Imagine capabilities like that in software, only more dynamic and married to something like this user interface."
In essence, trace your keyframes. With this interface, the possibilities would be much more fluid and dynamic. You could quickly flesh out a concept or look in seconds, and then dig into the detailed controls to fine-tune it. A boon for motion graphics creatives, or even users that just want to make cool Ken Burns-inspired photo montages without earning a Ph.D in keyframing.

It has to be said...I sincerely welcome our new Interface-Free Touch-Screen Overlords!

Matt Jeppsen
www.FresHDV.com

Windows only thanks to Flash requirement (-1, Offtopic)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638399)

Thanks for making the web less accessible with this crap, I was hoping to be included in this dissemination of information, rather than discriminated against because of my choice in operating systems

Yes, there is a Linux beta for Flash 9, but the sound would break whenever a flash applet got starved of resources, so I had to downgrade.

Re:Windows only thanks to Flash requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638449)

> Thanks for making the web less accessible with this crap

No problem! And don't worry, theres more on the way!

Kind regards,
WWW Bastardisation Dept., Microsoft

Re:Windows only thanks to Flash requirement (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638663)

Ok....Slashdot must be borked.....all of these replies to my comment about stuff only working on windows (by the way, the link works just fine if you have the new Flash 9 Beta) and I didn't even say anything about it except that this whole posts is OLD NEWS!

Re:Windows only thanks to Flash requirement (1)

Who235 (959706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638491)

Come on, mods. Don't mod parent offtopic.

Anyway, man, here's the YouTube video [youtube.com] which I was able to watch (also running Linux with an older Flash version).

B E T A (as in not complete) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638811)

It's BETA, quit whining.

Re:Windows only thanks to Flash requirement (3, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638919)

What were they supposed to do, write a transcript so you could read it with Lynx? Or maybe offer the entire video is an animated GIF?

Not everything can be fully accessible to everyone.

I'd wager that having it as Flash video makes it more accessible to more people than say, embedding it with other proprietary video software like Windows Media Player or Real Player, or even offering the file for direct download using some codec that you assume everyone has (not everyone can offer 10 different encoded videos so you can watch it on fringe systems). Flash video is, fortunately or unfortunately, the lowest common denominator across the widest variety of systems at this point.

One step closer to having sex with your computer. (1)

agent (7471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638403)

It really did look like he was trying to clinch onto a pair of tits, when what they really want you to do is rub them softly. If they want you to clinch, they might be trying to make you into their gimp and that will require a suit.

I fucking hate Hollywood.

This is a very interesting set up (2, Interesting)

skogs (628589) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638411)

This is an exciting setup...and I agree with his assertion that the OLPC (one laptop per child) is sort of like introducing millions of children to our inane weaknesses instead of our strengths. Really, I know that something like this wouldn't completely remove the need for a keyboard and such for many years, but it is a striking evolutionary step forward.

Just think how easy all those dramatic situations would have been in the 24th century if the Starship enterprise had some of these!

Re:This is a very interesting set up (4, Insightful)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638441)

Oh no! Children may use conventional tools, rather than futuristic things that are not in production yet, and probably won't be for 10+ years! When will we ever learn?

Looking Glass 3d (1)

1053r (903458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638423)

It would be interesting to see this integrated with Sun's looking glass desktop...

Hand me a doughnut while I work on this would ya? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638425)

Hand me a doughnut while I work on this would ya? Everyone take a moment and look BETWEEN the keys on your keyboard. Now put that all on your monitor.

Re:Hand me a doughnut while I work on this would y (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638639)

Ever cleaned your keyboard? If your keyboard is even built so it can be cleaned, you have to pry the keys off to clean beneath them.

Ever cleaned your monitor? It usually involves a cloth and a spray bottle, and takes a few seconds.

I'd much rather have to clean my monitor than my keyboard.

Just don't squirt your semen on the screen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638653)

Hand me a doughnut while I work on this would ya? Everyone take a moment and look BETWEEN the keys on your keyboard. Now put that all on your monitor.

It's okay that you masturbate to all that pornography that you find online. A lot of people do it. But have you ever tried squirting your cum into a tissue or into toilet paper? If you do that, instead of just letting it spray all over, you won't get as much, if any, on your keyboard.

Re:Hand me a doughnut while I work on this would y (1)

friedmud (512466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638737)

I actually use a touchscreen all day long... my Tablet PC. In some senses it's kind of worse than what's shown in this video... because I rest my whole hand on it for a long amount of time while I take notes in class.

So does it get dirty? Yep... after a couple of weeks of use it gets a pretty good film on it. Is it bothersome? Nope. Unless you are looking for it you really can't tell... it's actually the texture that let's me know when it's dirty (it's not quite as slick to write on). I just carry some windex wipes with me and wipe it down a couple of times a month... no big deal.

Now... like some of the other people have said... take a look at your keyboard... mine is infinitely more dirty than the screen on my tablet PC. Even if I did wipe it down a couple of times a month (which I don't... well.. I brush it off maybe when I'm dusting... but not really clean it) it wouldn't be as clean as a freshly wiped down piece of glass.

Being from the Tablet PC crowd I've really grown attached to being able to interact with my computer through my "fingertips". To me, this video was really cool... and I hope the tech comes down to us lowly consumers as fast as possible...

Friedmud

Re:Hand me a doughnut while I work on this would y (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639037)

And then wipe it completely clean and sterile with an alcohol wet nap. Then try the same procedure with a keyboard.

Old story, and no such thing as 'no interface' (3, Insightful)

streak (23336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638427)

Ok, everyone realizes this was recorded in February right?
Last I checked its the end of October.
Jeff Han has been covered I don't know how many times on how many sites (probably on Slashdot too - haven't checked the archives yet).

There's no such thing as no interface btw.
Yes, you can remove a lot of the mode-switching with different gestures, but there is always going to be some sort of interface to allow you to access other functions.
In my mind, once you get above about 4 or 5 gestures, things start to become confusing for people again - what was that gesture again? Thus defeating the purpose of no interface.

Re:Old story, and no such thing as 'no interface' (1)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638747)

Word. I saw this months ago.

That said, "no interface" is a figure of speech. Technically, every tool we use has an "interface" of some sort. For example, the interface for a pencil is arguably the wood stalk that's intended to reside in your hand.

By "no interface" we're really talking about interfaces that are intuitive and reference more natural metaphors of interactivity.

X11 style (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638447)

Seems like modifying X11's style of copy-paste would work really well for moving chunks of text- highlight it with one hand, then paste it into a text body with the other hand- it'd be faster since you wouldn't have to move each hand as much. If you insist on a literal interpretation of "middle-click", it'd also make for a great way to mod posts down on /. ;)

People who work with CAD and GIS will start crying (1)

stroustrup (712004) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638463)

If they see this application. Bring it out to the market soon. Mr.Google here is something you should be buying.

Re:People who work with CAD and GIS will start cry (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639059)

I can just see it now. Do you use a metal edge ruler and a high quality compass with it? How come the drafting eraser leaves big blotches of new lines on the display? LOLOLOL.

This year != recently (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638469)

in the computer industry.. and yes, the fact that this stuff isn't actually available to buy yet means it aint coming out of the lab. Why? Cause it takes people who are willing to accept risk to turn research into products and not every grad student is into taking risks with their life.

Really more about the display than anything else (1)

bryz (730558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638471)

The coolest part about this demo is the multi-touch display. I don't really see anything that innovative about the UI's or the lack of UI's that is presented. The only thing about touch screen displays is, at work I already get annoyed when a person comes over and presses their grubby fingers on my display. I would be quite upset if it was encouraged for people to come over to my display and drag all 10 of their grubby fingers all over my display. Where are the 3D non-touch human interface devices?

FROM THE Ancient news Dept. We have.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638479)

Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very old news. OMG

Oh for fucks sake (3, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638481)

Sure, it's neat - giant touchscreen with multiple points of contact and gestures that zoom and pan.

And this is what's going to "change the way we interact with computers"? Odd as it may sound, most application interfaces don't revolve around zooming and panning; there are considerably harder problems left to solve.

Funny he should mention RSI too, because that keyboard that will free you from the bonds of conformity, and that's displayed on a hard surface, will kill your wrists in a matter of months.

The thing is great for the Earth-type applications, but that's about it. It's cool technology - why must every innovation promise to change all future computer interactions?

(btw, if that picture viewer's "Pile of Crap" metaphor is where UI design is headed, I'm never upgrading again. I have my desk to act as a pile of crap, it won't make me feel more comfortable with my computer if it emulates that)

about RSI and ergonomics... (1, Interesting)

kaan (88626) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638625)

Not only is the keyboard an issue, consider the rest of his body! He's bent over the screen, neck bent to view the screen that's 2 feet below eye level. Any basic ergonomics advise says you should put the top edge of your display at eye level. Anything lower than that and you'll experience neck and back pain. Keyboard-related RSI will go nicely with a stiff neck.

I swear, if this were from a business selling some new product, I'd say they were trying to boost sales. But he's a researcher. I guess they must be up for more funding or something...?

Re:Oh for fucks sake (1)

jargon (75774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638643)

It actually reminds me a lot of Raskin's ZoomWorld [raskincenter.org]. "Pile-of-Crap" isn't so good, but having a zoom in interfance for storing data and applications is actually super intuitive and useful.

Re:Oh for fucks sake (1)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638689)

The thing is great for the Earth-type applications, but that's about it.

Just because you lack vision, don't assume everyone else is just as blind.

This would provide a great addition for editing video, audio or image collections. I've just scanned in over a hundred images related to genealogy and this could provide an excellent and FAST interface for sorting them. Combine it with audio annotation and decent voice recognition (dictation) and it would save me weeks of work.

My kids take tons of photos, and organizing them is a pain. This would be just like doing it with regular, real-life pictures. Drop 'em into piles, then go from there.

Anything where large amounts of information have to be categorized, organized or manipulated would be a good market for this.

How about creating levels for games? Positioning elements, dragging and dropping -- this is just so much more natural and faster than using a mouse. Don't like games? Then re-arranging furniture in a house design app; or landscaping.

All that control- and shift-click manipulation with a mouse is just a poor attempt at replicating what people do naturally -- grab and move things with their hands.

Re:Oh for fucks sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16639093)

I'm a programmer. I can't see how I can benefit from such an interface at work.

The only thing that I can think of is drawing diagrams, but most people don't do that very much. Besides, without more of an interface than zooming and panning, how can I select different types of diagram elements? How do I right-click to get a context menu with my fingers?

No, it's cool tech, and I'm sure there are millions of applications that are made more intuitive with such an interface. But it's not the solution to end all problems.

Re:Oh for fucks sake (1)

AnimeDTA (963237) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639189)

How do I right-click to get a context menu with my fingers?

I see this as better implemented as multiple mouse-like input devices than touchscreen implementation. You're also limited by viewing this from a mouse perspective, one with multiple buttons even. It won't be intuitive to integrate in all the functionalities that exist currently, but noone when they first use a mouse finds it exceptionally intuitive. We won't know till we really try to tackle the problem.

Re:Oh for fucks sake (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638711)

I agree. It's a fun toy, and it might lend itself to some useful new applications, but for current computer uses, it's not worth much. Web browsing wouldn't gain much if anything from that kind of interface. Word processing on such a computer would be a complete pain in the ass. Their photo organizing app looked pretty useless, but I could see that being made more practical. Web browsing, word processing, and media organization are the three main things the average joe uses their computer for, and media organization is the only thing this interface could conceivably help with.

The other issue is gestures. I use The Firefox extension All-in-one gestures. It's great for things like go back, go forward, close the screen, enlarge that image, remove that object, but I remember about 10 gestures out of the 50 or so offered by the extension. I wouldn't want to constantly have to refer to a gesture index to remember how to do slightly less common tasks, I'd rather just have a button I can push.

Re:Oh for fucks sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638835)

So many applications for this. Turn in your geek card.

GREAT FOR PR0N!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638483)

No longer will one hand be religated to the mouse!

Few comments: (1)

quakeroatz (242632) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638501)

- The map application had menu items at the top. Isn't that an interface.
- Interfaces aren't "bad" or something we need to get rid of. Like a table of contents in a book, people need some reference that tells them how, where, and when to interact or gain value from a object.
- This demo reeks of cool geek energy and zero business direction. Lava lamps and bright dots that fly, cool!

- This technology is obviously suited for one major purpose, the driving force of the internet and giant hard drives, PORN!

Ok... maybe photo editing and 3d modeling. But, not without an interface!

Re:Few comments: (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638571)

Really, "interface" was not the right word at all. The touchscreen and gestures are the interface. The word he was looking for was "widgets" or specifically "scrollbars".

Additionally while it was neat, it's not suited for everything. It would work great for playing with Xgl or graphical things, but it's not going to help much when writing code, papers, spreadsheets, and generally all the things most people do most of the day.

As for RSI, he doesn't seem to be much of an ergonomics expert... typing on a flat surface with no tactile feedback is not great. Perhaps they can augment the display with other technologies to help this.

All in all, it's really cool to watch the demos, but it's unlikely to change the world like he wants everyone to believe. And it's rather arrogant to dismiss the OLPC simply because it's "conventional". The alternative at this point is children having nothing.

Re:Few comments: (1)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638621)

Additionally while it was neat, it's not suited for everything. It would work great for playing with Xgl or graphical things, but it's not going to help much when writing code, papers, spreadsheets, and generally all the things most people do most of the day.

I'm not sure about this. In the photo library application demo, he brought up a keyboard with his hands, typed out a label for a photo, and put it away, in fewer than 10 seconds.

It seems pretty widely adaptable and convenient, especially if we can make the transition from physical keyboard and mouse to "virtual" keyboard and our hands, respsectively. The mouse was supposed to be away of extending our native manual precision and dexterity into our computer programs - now that this screen is here, the mouse is pretty mcuh obsolete, and we can bridge the hand-computer gap in a seemingly more natural, more direct way. Not only that, but the virtual keyboard frees us from the physical constraints and space requirements imposed by having an actual physical keyboard.

Re:Few comments: (2, Interesting)

oGMo (379) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638713)

I'm not sure about this. In the photo library application demo, he brought up a keyboard with his hands, typed out a label for a photo, and put it away, in fewer than 10 seconds.

Right, but again, this was a demo application that was designed to look neat and take advantage of the multitouch screen... not be useful. How much time a day do you spend rearranging your photos on a lightboard? While it looked cool, it didn't do much. You couldn't sort, there was no categorization, no album interface, no way to post them, no real photo manipulation, or basically anything that would be useful for anything beyond browsing pr0n. (Any bets on whether this was their very first app?)

It seems pretty widely adaptable and convenient, especially if we can make the transition from physical keyboard and mouse to "virtual" keyboard and our hands, respsectively.

What I'm saying is that while this is neat for quick applications that don't require much text, it would be painful for multi-hour coding or authoring. And this is what most people do. For this kind of use, there is one absolute requirement: you don't need to look at it. And if you're not looking at it, you don't need an LCD powering it. (Any sort of predictive or dynamic keyboard violates this rule and makes typing require too much thought.)

The mouse was supposed to be away of extending our native manual precision and dexterity into our computer programs - now that this screen is here, the mouse is pretty mcuh obsolete, and we can bridge the hand-computer gap in a seemingly more natural, more direct way.

Yes, touchscreen interfaces are very neat. But they're not the answer to the world's problems. They won't magically make you be able to produce art where the mouse or tablet or whatever was getting in the way before. It may streamline things a bit, but it doesn't remove the need for skill.

Not only that, but the virtual keyboard frees us from the physical constraints and space requirements imposed by having an actual physical keyboard.

Again, only in very limited situations. Plus, onscreen keyboard means losing screen space, which is arguably far more valuable than desk space.

Re:Few comments: (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639085)

Why is everyone ignoring the fact that a standard keyboard would still be available to work with? The other points of the presentation were still valid also, such as lower cost and multi-point sensing. I would certainly think that if the lower cost part was serious, we could use it to change computing from a stand-off display to a touch sensitive display table. (Which would be ultimately more user friendly than the disjointed mouse touchy and monitor visual system we use now). You could even keep your standard widgets, because I didn't see any way of globally panning the way you can with the standard scroll bars. Ok so maybe shooting people in Doom3 would look more like whack-a-mole than ever before, but is that a totally bad thing?

mmm :/ (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638559)

Well it makes for a great demo but I notice he didn't actually manipulate any information there, just graphics.

What I'd be really interested in is seeing some kind of email or office app done this way. I suspect it's much harder to apply these techniques to very data-heavy displays or data based around language rather than graphics. That's not to say it's a bad idea - multi-touch will probably arrive on our desktops at some point, but I see it as being a supplement to what we have now rather than replacing it completely.

I love seeing new UI research though. WIMP has so many flaws, it seems clear we can do better given what we've learned in the past 25 years ...

Not quite "interface free"... (1)

kaan (88626) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638581)

In fact, it absolutey does have an interface. Granted, it's a simple interface, and one that contextually changes with each application, but it's still an interface. Basically, all he's showing is an interface that essentially has two mice, not one, and instead of using your hand to manipulate a physical mouse (which is then translated onto the screen), they've built a complicated touch-screen system to eliminate the mouse altogether. And then they added a second one. Don't get me wrong, this stuff is neato, but it isn't really that impressive. Looks like an insanely expensive touch-screen display, with software that supports two mice.

Also, I can't quite let it slide the claim on the website - "he demonstrates - for the first time publicly - his intuitive, "interface-free," touch -drive computer screen". They need to really emphasize the "publicly" part of that statement. I saw a show on National Geographic (might be a year or two old, too), pretty sure it's the same exact research group with some of the same types of demos like in the video. They very clearly used the same "interface-free" design to navigate city maps. The show was about stopping terrorits or something (it was actually kinda silly), and it emphasized this two-handed, "mouse-less" map navigation stuff so much that it almost seemed like an advertisement.

Perhaps they should call it "dual mouse" interface? :P

Re:Not quite "interface free"... (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638685)

I'm not sure where you are getting "dual mouse" from. You can use as many fingers as you please and it will register them all as an input device.

Otherwise I cannot agree more. :-)

Re:Not quite "interface free"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16639179)

That, and the fact that the display is pressure sensitive. I would liken it more to a drawing tablet.

Old news, move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638589)

This video is nearly 9 months old, David Pogue (http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com) mentioned it months ago.

Minority Report interface sucks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638591)

Could you imagine a whole day of waving your arms, all directions, 8-12 hours a day!

It is stupid!

Re:Minority Report interface sucks! (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639103)

Yeah, tell it to the guy who stands in front of the jets that take off from aircraft carriers!

How to get it out (1)

Garrett Pennell (1020070) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638599)

This isn't something that would immediately go to the Desktop. I can see three markets for this technology: 1. Education Imagine a child's desktop and a computer's desktop becoming one thing. If somehow, in the future, made cheap enough this could be put on kids' desks in school. No need for computer labs. No losing homework. And then you could have a big "chalkboard" version that has capability of displaying something a student may have to share with a class. It's a long way off. It's not going to be economically feasible anytime soon. But that's a possibility later on. 2. Tablet Computing If you don't see this one, you're blind. It fits perfectly. It's similar, but with no pen. And the platform would be more natural as a "tablet." You can pull up a (nearly) full-sized keyboard on a layer above what you're typing into, then dismiss it without anything getting in the way. I mean, it's not like you're going to be moving anything else while you're typing something, right? 3. Public Use Kiosks. ATM machines. They're all cumbersome and haven't changed much since the 90s. You could have an entire wall in an airport that's just one of these interfaces. You walk up to it wherever convenient, tap the screen, and you get an intuitive screen displayed exactly where it's comfortable to you. The front office of a business (more beneficial for some than others). If strategically placed and designed, these big displays could do alot of nifty things. I don't see it making it's way onto a desktop, but if done right, the desktop could be considered nonpoint.

Re:How to get it out (1)

aaza (635147) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638929)

1. Education Imagine a child's desktop and a computer's desktop becoming one thing. If somehow, in the future, made cheap enough this could be put on kids' desks in school. No need for computer labs. No losing homework. And then you could have a big "chalkboard" version that has capability of displaying something a student may have to share with a class. It's a long way off. It's not going to be economically feasible anytime soon. But that's a possibility later on.

Is anyone else reminded of the battle-school desks from Ender's Game?

Minority report??? (3, Insightful)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638611)

This is not from the Minority Report that was released in 2002. This was shown in shuttle interface in Earth the Final Conflict [tv.com] which aired in 1997.

This type of interface was also in The first $20 millions is the hardest. [imdb.com] But that came out in the same year as The Minority report.

Re:Minority report??? (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638879)

This is not from the Minority Report that was released in 2002. This was shown in shuttle interface in Earth the Final Conflict which aired in 1997.

This type of interface was also in The first $20 millions is the hardest. But that came out in the same year as The Minority report.


Thanks for clearing that up. I guess this is why the call it "news for nerds."

The Pentagon already bought this,,, (2, Interesting)

prof_peabody (741865) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638647)

I recently attended a demo of a similar device at my company. The pentagon already has purchased units and the company is trying to branch out to private sector applications. They were using for collaboration with geographical software (gis data).

Neat, but doesn't look useful (1)

slusich (684826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638673)

It's a very cool looking product, and I'm sure there are some uses for it, but I don't see this becoming commonplace by any means. It just doesn't seem to be a really better way to interface with our machines then what already exists.

Good idea for real 3D work. Maybe 2D. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638693)

This is good. One of the major problems with graphic design systems, both CAD and animation, is that it's only possible to select one thing at a time. Many operations involve two objects, and you're forced to some sequential select-and-manipulate interface. This gets you past that.

Many high-end animation systems will accept multiple input devices, from MIDI keyboards to knob boxes to articulated skeletons. At the low end, we have the scroll wheel, which was a big improvement. Finally, you could do two things at once without shifting modes. This is a further step in that direction.

Video editors on deadline are going to want this thing. The obvious application is a replacement for the Avid NewsCutter [avid.com], which sells into an environment which is not very price-sensitive.

this article is full of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638695)

1) he specifically uses the words "the kinds of interfaces you can build on it"

2) this guy is the worst public speaker in HISTORY

no interface? (1)

rhesuspieces00 (804354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638745)

you mean no human ever interacts with the computer?

I can understand if you don't care for windows, but I think there is a better solution.

Neat demo. Needs Mandelbrot. (2, Interesting)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638757)

As he was manipulating the map application it really jumped out at me how cool it would be to run a Mandelbrot set app that way. It would have made a fun and awesome addition to the presentation. If I were working in his lab that would almost certainly be the first thing I would add to the system.

-

This is not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638789)

It is obvious that the people at the talk "oohing" and "ahhing" are not in the field of large screen interaction. The interaction stuff is standard fare, and not really innovative.

The multi-touch technology is pretty good, however. There are other multi-touch technologies (from the likes of MERL and SMART), but I this one is better in several ways.

A typical slashdot reply (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16638843)

I'm annoyed by the typical slasdhot response. They're always pessimistic and repetitive. 'Why there ain't nary no such thing as them there interface. He's a fraud!!!' or 'This'll never go anywhere! Innovation is just a vapor!' Why do I even bother scrolling down...

The GUI (2, Insightful)

mqduck (232646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638849)

Very neat and completely useless. I don't know about you guys, but I find it much easier to find my data in my nice hierarchical filesystem than by digging through a garbage can fan full of papers, which is what this GUI simulates.

Re:The GUI (1)

AnimeDTA (963237) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639105)

ging through a garbage can fan full of papers

Hmm, what with games where you're a ball and roll around collecting junk that sticks to you, theres no end to what new games may take form in... soon to come:

Dumpster Diving!

Also see this video too (1)

mh101 (620659) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638859)

This reminded me of this video [youtube.com] I watched a while back, with Google Earth and Warcraft III on a giant touch-screen display using two fingers to zoom or select units, etc. Pretty cool stuff. Too bad it's probably still to expensive to hope for it to become mainstream anytime soon.

"They should have one in the google lobby" (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638909)

As the guy notes that they should have this in google lobby. More or less it is good for 'removed' visual data manipulation. Nothing serious, like office work. What is missing, something that was learned ago, is safety brackets data removal or change. This interface will allow less technical people to use the computer. What is missing for the demonstration, is critical data alteration. You won't see this being used in the office for spreadsheets, word processing, etc etc - real meat of the computer industry. Tactile feedback of a flat screen, for typing is absent as well.

So to define what it can be used for is this: displaying and sorting data, not alteration, modification and/or creation of data, except non-critical visual data. Uses for this don't run along with what computer traditionally for. These people will need to open new markets... failing that technology will fade into the past.

Anyway how much is one of those screens?
2c.

Interfaces are natural (4, Interesting)

tygt (792974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638927)

I realize that the point of this (TFA) is about trying to make things more intuitive and natural. But, as others have pointed out in other words, interfaces are a natural aspect of life.

I have an interface in front of me right now. I have pen, paper; I've got a camera... if I want to record a visual of something, I have to pick up my camera. Never mind that the camera has one of these "non-intuitive interfaces" that we (rather, the article) are trying to remove, I still have to do something to get it done. Anything that I do interfaces with reality.

One of the goals of the iconic desktop originally was to duplicate the real desktop in some fashion to make things simpler for humans to interact with their work on a computer, so that there wouldn't be too much of a translation layer to build between real and virtual work. Similarly, some try to implement handwriting recognition to remove the interface of the keyboard from the writing process.... until they realize that geeks like us can't write for crap and can type ten times faster as well.

Regardless, of course, there's got to be some way to tell the computer that you actually want to resize the strange hand-like object on that screen the guy had (I think it was a hand, my sound was off and I lost interest rapidly) rather than add to the drawing. There's got to be some way to change modes, as he did between drawing the outline, getting it filled in, and then moving it around - that's all interface. Sure, it looked sweet that there wasn't any menu pull-down happening, no mouse, but really, you've got a pretty damn simple application that can be manipulated in this fashion.

Do anything complex, and you'll have to have a more complex interface suddenly.

"Computer... Computer... (McCoy hands Scotty the mouse) Aye. Hello computer." -- Scotty

Even talking to a computer would be an interface..... a pretty complex one, though definitely one that could be considered intuitive, if you could use your chosen language for commanding it rather than some cryptic "ok, list the files, sort by date then name.... uh.... ok that one no that shit fucking computer where's my mouse"

For now (1)

AnimeDTA (963237) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639029)

I would just like to have a second mouse cursor if I have a second mouse attached, and apps designed to allow me to do those crazy things with a second cursor. Large touch screens would be nice, but whats really affordable now are multiple mice. Heck even if apps didn't have any special support for extra mice it would still be nice to have a second mouse cursor. Is there no demand for this sort of functionality in a productivity environment as opposed to the creativity type environments? I keep hoping with each iteration of Windows that support for multiple mouse cursors will be native.

Keyboard (2, Interesting)

WhatsAProGingrass (726851) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639035)

His keyboard Idea sounds pretty cool. I would like to see some more practical applications than what he showed. Games would be cool with this interface. I think the idea is great, moving objects on your screen as if they were actually on your desk. But gestures will still need to be learned. Also, we would all get neck problems from staring down all the time at the screen rather than looking straight ahead. All in all, this technology seems very interesting.

Other videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16639081)

Any more tips of interesting videos from there?

Annoying presentation, cool technology. (1)

errordactyl (925156) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639083)

That was so annoying. The technology is cool but in the end it was only just ok cause I mostly wanted him to shut up especially when he talked about there being no interface.

But this is a significant broadening of the "vocabulary" used to interact with a GUI. For data entry, i.e. coding or taking notes or writing email, there seems to be nothing new..... but that guy strikes me as kind of a dumbass so perhaps someone out there does have something cool and hasn't told anybody yet. We'll have to wait and see.

been there (1)

pbjones (315127) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639131)

slashdotted that.

I think /. covered it when the video was first done. you still need a file manager etc.

38 more (0, Offtopic)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639137)

There are 38 more available, [ted.com] on a wide range of subjects.

I just finished watching an extremely impressive talk by Ashraf Ghani, former Finance Minister of Afghanistan. Dear President Bush, please listen to this guy.

I've already selected and downloaded 3 more videos which I plan to spend the next hour watching.

-

get rid of physical? (1)

demon411 (827680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639155)

from the video "there is no reason in this day and age we should be conforming to a physical device" The whole idea of Tangible Interfaces is to exploit our natural ability to manipulate physical objects. In fact the guy that developed the minority report stuff, John Underkoffler, was big in Tangible Interfaces when he was a student at mit media lab. In my opinion, physical objects aren't being used enough in interfaces. I do like the fact that touchscreen interfaces gets rid of the indirection than occurs when you use a mouse to move a cursor to manipulate some icon.

Flat surface interfaces are a dead end (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16639163)

While they may be useful while other technology matures, the life of interfaces based on flat surfaces is limited. The keyboard, the mouse, this touch screen (cool though it may be) are a decade away from obscurity. As it has in the past, I think the game industry is going to open the doors to the public of true 3D interfaces. If the Wii is as big a hit as is predicted, and works as well as some hope, people are going to start expecting that sort of control in the future. The days of hand pain from using current interface tools will hopefully end, because no matter how "natural" that keyboard or mouse is, it's natural for one person and not another. I for one would love to have an interface that involved nothing more than my hands in mid air making natural, comfortable movements.

And for those still stuck on the porn aspect, just imagine what that could do for you.
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