We’ve grown so used to computers that we find it hard to imagine our lives without them. That didn’t happen overnight and came as a result of the relentless pursuit to advance human-computer interaction (HCI). And from the look of things, the best of human-computer interaction is yet to come.
From a layman’s view, human-computer interaction (HCI) simply refers to the accessibility and usability of computers. From an academic viewpoint, human-computer interaction can be defined as the study of the ways people interact with computers and design technologies that allow people to interact with computers. Human-computer interaction is one of the most important fields for designers and regular users. Thanks to it, the formers are able to receive quality data, which allows them to improve human-computer interaction. That, in turn, makes the latter extremely satisfied. Now, you can use countless tools that make your life easier (APA generator, word counter, grammar checker, etc.). But, you can’t even imagine what pass the technology had to traverse to get to the point it’s at right now.
The journey to perfect human-computer interaction started with the advent of desktop computers in the 1980s. Back then, HCI primarily focused on the creation of systems that were easy to use. After the arrival of desktop applications and internet browsers, this dream became a reality. Then came the era of email which made it possible to turn computers into genuine communication tools. Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, the email got so popular that it is still one of the most preferred modes of communication.
The early 2000s witnessed the introduction of more sophisticated portable computers, such as laptops, smartphones, wearables, and tablets. And the best thing is that these computing devices keep being perfected to improve human-computer interaction. Comparing then and now, it’s safe to say that the introduction of mobile technology is by far the most advanced form of human-computer interaction. That became possible due to voice recognition, fingerprint scanning, as well as the thousands of apps that serve diverse purposes. However, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the rapid growth of human-computer interaction only suggests that growth possibilities are limitless. So, what else can we expect in terms of human-computer interaction?
Prototypes That Showcase Future Possibilities of Human-Computer Interaction
Dexter Haptic Gloves
If you thought virtual reality had reached its limits, then Dexter Robotics company has a big surprise in store for you. Until now, virtual reality could only interact with a limited number of human senses. But what if you could touch objects in the virtual world? Thanks to the Dexter Haptic gloves you now can. Here’s how it works.
Once you touch an object in the virtual world, the Dexter Haptic gloves lock and unlock your fingers to simulate haptic sensations, such as softness, hardness, sponginess, etc. This means that you will not only be able to touch objects in the virtual world but also tell their physical properties. Without a doubt, Dexter Haptic Robotics will be a true game-changer in the virtual reality world.
You probably think that paper is only good for taking notes or making sketches on. Well, not quite so. Disney Research, the University of Washington, and Carnegie Mellon University have found another use for it. Their new technology is called Paper ID, and thanks to it, a piece of paper can sense its environment, respond to a command and even connect to the Internet. Imagine flipping a page in a book in the real world and being able to replicate the action in your e-reader. How impressive is that?
You’ve probably seen screens appear on the palms and hands of sci-fi movie characters, right? It turns out it’s not so fictional, after all. Introducing skin track technology! Developed by the Future Interface Group of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, it allows you to control your smartwatch by projecting its screen over your entire arm, thus giving you enough room to interact with your wearable.
Holoflex technology will soon be available on all modern smartphones. In fact, this is an upgrade of bendable screen technology that was introduced just a few months ago. What makes it truly amazing is that the displays made with it are truly holographic. The smartphones equipped with such a display are able to project 12pixel-wide circular blocks through more than 16,000 fisheye lenses. And although the resolution is pretty poor at the moment, it can quickly become the next big thing in mobile technology.
Another improvement in mobile technology that promises to change user experience in ways we’ve never seen before is pre-touch technology. Up until now, we’ve only been able to deal with the touch screen mobile display. And it seemed like that was the limit, as more and more mobile phone manufacturers kept employing the same technology. Well, all of that is about to change thanks to Microsoft. With Microsoft pre-touch technology, your mobile phone can detect when and where it’s being touched. Needless to say, pre-touch technology is definitely going to change the way we interact with our mobile devices in ways we could not even imagine.