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Communications of the ACM


Brave NUI World

Audrey Penven photograph

Audrey Penven created this photograph and similar ones by using Kinect's infrared structured light as a source of light.

Credit: Audrey Penven

Natural user interface developments, such as Microsoft's Kinect, may indicate the beginning of the end for the mouse.

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Daniel Wigdor

Hi Gregor,

Some great coverage here. But a key point is missed - when we coined the term 'Brave NUI World' in our book (, we were referring specifically to *new* niches for technology, not about supplanting highly efficient input technologies designed for a particular context. The iPhone and other similar devices did not replace the desktop, they simply enabled elements of an experience previously reserved for the desktop to be experienced elsewhere. The projects that you have described (and all manner of others in the HCI community) are great examples of this as well.

John's an incredibly creative guy, but I'm sure he too would agree that gesturing in-air to generate text (or even dictating) is a far worse experience for desktop publishing or spreadsheet accounting than using a keyboard and mouse. What technologies like Surface and Kinect have enabled researchers to explores are those new contexts, where maybe a PC is used now but it isn't a great experience, or the PC simply can't work well. The hospital environment is one where the sanitation and other elements of context of use are simply ill-suited to using the current input technologies. I welcome you to read the book, written by myself and CHI Academy member Dennis Wixon, both of the Surface and later company-wide NUI gurus at MSFT, where we make this point in detail, and describe a clear design process for how to achieve the sorts of experiences you have written about here.


Daniel Wigdor

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