Microsoft's Natal is one of several natural user interfaces (NUIs) under development in the company's Envisioning Lab. Natal features heat-sensing displays and an infrared camera and is designed to work as a game controller for the Xbox. Other NUI prototypes include touch-screen consoles, smart tables that can scan a handheld device, and speech-enabled applications. "You'll still use a [graphical user interface] to open a document, to edit a document, things like that . . . the idea here is to turn the computer into a helper, more than a tool," says Microsoft's Craig Mundie. Microsoft expects NUIs to go beyond mere input and become deeply embedded into productivity tools.
View a video of Craig Mundie discussing future interfaces.
Meanwhile, Carleton University professor Robert Biddle is developing SurfNet, a user interface that uses a touch-screen tabletop similar to Microsoft's Surface technology. Biddle and his team are interested in the collaborative review and management of data, especially for those involved in system administration and security. "We're particularly interested in development environments that feature strong team rooms, instead of cubicles or carrels," Biddle says.
From Computerworld Canada
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