Future of gestural interfaces (my SXSW notes)


Below are my notes and audio I recorded during the panel “People as Peripherals: The Future of Gesture Interface” at the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference. Feel free to leave a comment. More SXSW notes to come. (please note: I tried to capture as many points as possible, hence the shorthand and occasional misspelled word. Also, the audio is not the best quality)

Panel: People as Peripherals: The Future of Gesture Interface

Speaker: Lee Shupp, Exec VP, Cheskin Added Value (@leeshupp)

Twitter hash tag: #sxswnui

Shupp is trained futurist

Went to University of Houston

Futurists try to understand process of change

Interested in change that hasn’t happened yet

Tech changes much faster than ppl do

Its key to find spot where change is interesting but not alienating ppl

“Problem with change is there’s not enough Africa in them” – Brian Eno

There is opportunity to put more Africa in computing; movement, naturalness

The clapper was an early form of gesture computing

Four aspects of natural user interface: mouse clicks, touch, gesture, bio signals

Technologies don’t go away, it just moves to a niche

Steve jobs first mainstreamed the mouse after touring IBM

Mouse is hard to move away from bc it’s accurate, fast, subtle movements, flexible, ubiquitous

Mouse forces us to sit down, takes space, carpel tunnel, takes away keyboard

Mouse evolved to peripheral plus gesture, re: Wii

Ppl started getting used to touch with use of PC trackpad

iPhone, iPad, and Microsoft surface are leaders in touch interfaces

Touch is more natural, untethered, good for mobile, small devices with out keys, more relaxed

Touch disadvantages are smudging, fingerprints, fingernails, hand covers screen, inaccurate

Asian touch surfaces present problems w ppl with big fingers

The more challenging and complicated the gesture, the fewer ppl will be able to do it – kickerstudio.com

Minority report introduced gestures

Kinect is path towards that

A lot of hacks coming out for Kinect

There’s even gesture-based medical surgery Kinect hacks

Augmented reality is “digital overlays to the dirt world”

MIT media lab’s SixthSense is wearable gestural interface that augments physical World

Gesture issues include inaccuracy, delayed computer reaction, small window of space, physical exertion

Current state of gestures is “gorilla arms”, big movements

Fine tune gesture with voice, eye movements, facial expression

Go see “From car to Facebook” ad on YouTube

Sniff is an interactive projection installation

Amazon Star Wars Force kit is like bio signals. Google the video

XWave headset lets you control iPhone apps w your brain

Brain wave control will come, but kids will get it easier

US Army invents “Thought helmet” to streamline communications during reconnaisance missions

No “radio crackle”, so soldiers aren’t discovered

Article: Intel wants implant by 2020

Iraqi-American artist had plate with camera implanted in his head to record daily

BrainGate is a brain implant system by Cyberkinetics in 2008 with neuroscience department at Brown university

Obstacles to overcome in bio signals interfaces: brain is complex, requires focused concentration, multitasking, no innate connect to machines, “if humans can’t read each other, how will computers do it?”

Google “The Singularity is Near” movie

What happens when computers processing power exceeds humans’?

Humans may stay smarter while computers become booksmart

Computers become smarter than humans 

Humans and computers might merge

Extropians are ppl who believe that humans will merge with computers and are actively pursuing research to that end

Transhumans: “immortality thru tech” believers; freeze brains for later

How ppl feel abt machine relationships: Friendly robots; helpful, thinking robots like “Hal”; Terminators; or “Silons”

Today the gesture interface is appealing because it’s new and fun

Gesture will be easier when it’s combined with natural interactions

Cultural nuances could present problems with gestures

Combining accuracy algorithms like point snapping could improve gestural intent problems


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