The future?

I watch this video and I want to believe in it, but it’s really hard right now. Not because I think the technology is far fetched. I have no clue if that’s true honestly, but I am willing to trust John here and say that mass production is possible in the next 5 years. What I don’t believe is that people are ready to interact with computers in this way (with the exception of gaming).

The entire demonstration revolves around images or graphical item manipulation. Too much of what the unwashed masses do with computers today is still text-based which makes this approach impractical. Ignoring for the moment that this kind of interface is completely opaque (no visual queues for usability at all), did you notice that he was sorta winded at the end of the demonstration? I can’t imagine my grandmother working that hard to read her email. I am sticking to my guns here: we aren’t even quite ready to give people touch-based gesture yet let alone hit them with the additional abstraction of using spatial gestures to manipulate screen content.

If you asked me to predict the future, I would say that ubiquitous touch interfaces are 5 years out at this point, and that this much more complex gesture-based interface is a decade away at least (probably more). I would guess that the best thing folks who believe in gestures as the future of human-computer interface could do to make that transition faster is contribute to the world of touch-based gestures. I just don’t see us making the jump from keyboard and click to this without developing an intermediate set of gestures that bridge the gap between the 2D and 3D worlds of user interface. And touch seems like the best way to build that bridge right now.