Aug 17, 2009

Microsoft's Project Natal & "Fun" Natural User Interfaces for the Office

This looks great!

I came across the picture below today, and discovered more about it in a CNET article:

"Gesture-recognition technology, such as that seen in Project Natal, has changed the face of gaming, but Microsoft's Craig Mundie (pictured) believes it will also transform the office." (Ina Fried, CNET)

This approach looks like it incorporates visual thinking and conceptualization in a nice and fluid way.


"Microsoft: Future desktop PC's will transform the office" (Ina Fried, CNET UK, 7/31/09).

According to Fried, author of the the linked CNET article, Craig Mundie, at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit this past July demonstrated the set-up in the above picture. The demonstration "...included hologram-like videoconferencing, a virtual digital assistant, and multiple surface computers, along with voice-, touch- and gesture-recognition technology. The desk in the demo was a multitouch surface computer, and the office's walls were also a display that could easily switch from being a virtual window or collection of digital photos to a corkboard of sticky notes or various workspaces. In one case, Mundie also used Project Natal-like depth cameras to put himself in the middle of an architectural demo, essentially putting himself inside a building that was not yet built."

Craig Mundie of Microsoft on the Future of Software: Digital Assistants, Natural User Interfaces, and Room Computing (Gregory T. Huang, Xconomy Seatle, 7/13/09)

The author of the above article was also at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit and touched on the concept of natural user interfaces:

“All the things we talk about as natural user interfaces have been largely used one at a time as enhancements to [graphical user interfaces],” Mundie said. Gesture recognition, expressive responses, immersive 3-D virtual environments, and understanding of context—these advances in computing algorithms will lead to software that is “better at anticipating what you might want.”

Xbox's Project Natal Revamped for Offices? (J. Nicholas Hoover, 7/30/09)

When I find a video of the Project Natal/Surface/Natural User Interface Office in action, I'll be sure to post it!

Why this is important:

Natural user interfaces might have the potential to support more efficient and effective collaboration among people in the workplace, and the visual display of information may also support better decision-making and problem solving.

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