StarTrek made voice interaction with computers seem inevitable. Johnny Mnemonic and Minority Report made gesture interfaces look awesome. Imagine the office or coffee shop of the near future, everyone yelling and waving their hands madly. I guess we’re already there. Note that Microsoft Kinect already supports voice and gesture, why not attention-tracking, too? [And when will Kinect include a webcam?]
Look, Ma, No Hands! Operating a Laptop With Eyes Only – NYTimes.com by David Pogue
[T]hen came the Wii. We could control a computer by waving a wireless remote in space. There was the iPhone and iPad: we could control a computer by pointing and dragging a finger on glass. There was the Microsoft Xbox Kinect: we could control a computer without touching it at all, just by moving our limbs in space. Then came Siri on the iPhone 4S, which took voice control to a much more sophisticated, fluid level.
Look, Ma, No Hands! Operating a Laptop With Eyes Only – NYTimes.com
How Touchscreens Are Forcing the Reinvention of Keyboards – Lauren Goode – Commerce – AllThingsD by Lauren Goode
While physical buttons certainly have their advantages, software keyboards, in the meantime, are showing a tremendous amount of potential. For example, keyboards can simply be reconfigured based on context. When in a browser, dedicated keys can be presented for “www” and “.com”. If the entry is for a ZIP code, a screen with only numbers can be offered.
Also, soft keyboards can do interesting things using prediction. Based on what the next character is likely to be, the software can actually assume which letter is likely to be pressed next, making those keys bigger, either physically or just by favoring those keys.
Above all, software keyboards, unlike physical ones, disappear entirely when they are not needed. The trend away from physical keyboards, which began with the iPhone, has continued unabated, with full touchscreen smartphones making up a steadily increasing portion of the market. ….
[However,] “[t]he physical keyboard is an amazing thing, and the fact that it hasn’t changed much in almost 150 years is a good thing,” he said. “If you brought back an old keyboard, people will still be able to type just as well, and there aren’t many technologies as durable as that.”
How Touchscreens Are Forcing the Reinvention of Keyboards – Lauren Goode – Commerce – AllThingsD
On that last point, paper, pen, and books have all been more durable, yet few of us believe they will be common in another generation or so.