TED Conversations

James Patten


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If you could give computers one magical power, what would it be and why?

Live TED Conversation: Join TED Fellow James Patten

James is an inventor who is exploring new ways that physical objects can represent and control digital information.

This conversation will open at November 14 at 1:00PM EST.


Closing Statement from James Patten

Thank you to everyone for sharing some great ideas! One theme that I was really struck by was the extent to which people wanted their computers to have human qualities. Also there were some great suggestions about new types of input and output, ways of processing information and many others. I think that within the next several decades many of the things mentioned here will some to pass (some much sooner than that). Ultimately what we think of as a "computer" will change drastically in the next several years, as things adapt to better suit human abilities. Thank you everyone for participating!

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  • Nov 14 2011: What I would like may already exist - I'd like my computer to track my eyes so that I could look at the screen instead of using a mouse or trackball. By thinking "click" or something similar, I could then "press" a button or navigation item. This would be a large improvement in speed and ease of use.
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      Nov 14 2011: Hi Daniel, this does exist, but traditionally has been very expensive. There is at least one effort to make it easier though. Check out this project by Zach Lieberman: http://www.eyewriter.org/

      At its current state it's mainly targeted at people with ALS and other handicaps. I don't think you would find it faster or easier in its current form. One issue is that the movement of the human eye is actually very jumpy compared to what one might expect.

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