Friday, March 14, 2008

Mind Control the next User Interface

An interface for the future ...

"With all the huge amounts of data out there that we are being inundated with everyday we need a better way to interact with all that data quicker and in a more natural way. Right now we mainly use a mouse and a keyboard to manipulate our data on a computer screen or we use our remote control for our television. But these tools are really limiting in terms of the kinds of input that we can use to control our systems. Wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to think about what we want to do and the computer does it without having to find it or click through a bunch of options and screens? Wouldn’t it be nice to pause, rewind or change channels just by thinking about it? No more typing by hand just think about the text you want displayed. How about making a phone call? What if everyone could communicate with just their thoughts? No way you say -but it’s already being done. This could be a reality sooner than you think.

Research is rapidly advancing in this field because of the many uses that it has. Initially most of these will be developed for people with handicaps. Scientists are hooking up paralyzed people’s brains to computers so that they can communicate easier and also give them some freedom, like controlling their wheelchair by thought or surfing the internet by thought. But of course this is something that eventually everyone could use. The ability to control your computer by thought means you could interact with your data constantly, you wouldn’t really need to see a screen to do it eventually. As your walking around you could be making phonecalls by thought or consulting your calendar, all while getting turn by turn directions straight to your brain.

The technology is in its infancy but you can already start to get an idea of the potential it has. I think that by the time my one year old daughter is in college she will laugh when I tell her that we used to have to use physical objects like a mouse or keyboard to interact with our data. I say data and not computer because personal computers will most likely have gone away too. All our systems will be in the cloud, all our data stored all around us all the time following us. There will be no need for a laptop or phone. Perhaps a screen that we can roll out to view things or a 3d projector. Or maybe we’ll have imagery sent directly to our optic nerve, augmenting our reality.

One thing we can be sure of is that the way we interact with our data is going to be a lot more personal and natural. Once we are interacting directly with computing systems through our mind I believe we will percieve these systems to be a part of us. To lose them or not have them will be as if you are handicapped, not all there. It will definitely blur the lines of where humans and computers are seperated and in a more distant future as computing becomes even more powerful it’s likely that line will disappear altogether."    (Continued via Crazynetechstuff)    [Usability Resources]

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