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We want new user interfaces and natural gestures but we are as much slaves to the keyboard and mouse as our computers.
We want instant freedom from cords and wires and we want it now!!! But are we ready to be free? The TED talks about SixthSense technology brought to mind Tom Cruise in the movie "Minority Report" as well as the lab scenes in James Cameron's movie "Avatar." Both the movies and the TED talk bolster the concept of interacting with computers and data without a mouse, traditional keyboard or even a traditional screen.
With the popularity of modern tablets like the iPad, it would seem the computer interface has finally shed itself of the traditional keyboard and mouse. We seem to be learning to do without the tactile feeling or the audible "tap" or "click" associated with depressing a springy key on a keyboard. We have also exchanged the mouse's point and click for the tap, pinch and zoom of multi-touch touchscreens. However, what happens when we take away the sense of touch and sensation of feedback and we put nothing between the user and their data? You would think it would be pure...natural...the way we have always wanted to use our computers. But in fact, it's far from natural in the beginning. Think back to the first time you tried to use a Trackball mouse or a touchscreen keyboard. Maybe even think of the first time you saw your parents or grandparents use one of these things. Remember the first time you saw someone flounder with the "Kinect" for XBOX or the awkward way they held the Nintendo Wii-mote? Moreover, how many of you don't use Siri or Google Voice or ANY voice commands because "it's just not there yet"? I believe that the only thing between us and our data is US. Technologies like SixthSense, Google Glass and Kinect are slow to emerge not because they need more work, but more so because WE need to work to break free of what binds us to the old ways. Isn't the computer itself just an interface to the information we want? What will it take for us to free our minds AND our data from the keyboard and mouse? Change is coming. Practice now.