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This post is long overdue, as I`ve seen and read much about the very certain things that are about to come in terms of ubiquitous computing and our technological future, and some documentation that I`m aware of them could be useful.
The fact that more and more everyday objects are becoming wirelessly connected and able to communicate with each other, sending and transmitting content, personal information etc., is now almost an accepted reality before it`s even here. One of those technologies is the MultiTouch interface. I first heard about this when scanning web resources for coming technologies, and saw Jeff Han`s presentation at TED. Microsoft`s Surface computer is also much viewed on Youtube. Basic scenarios like using your breakfast table as an interface to read the news, control the TV, send an email etc, and being able to walk in to a cafe somewhere and get access to the internet on the tabletop there are being projected right now. Already certain restaurants have their menus on a surface screen on the table, and you can browse not only the food being served, but also its origin, the history of the country it`s from etc. It`s the natural heir to the touch screen from our train stations and drawing pads. The multi touch surface interface will soon become a more normal interface to use in homes and in public spaces, and it obviously opens up for a much more intuitive and hands on interaction with a computer. Whether it will include more people in using a computer is also outside any doubt.
When we think about new services and products for the future, linked to, or using mainstream technology to come, we have to be able to envision an everyday use of it; put ourselves in the context of the culture, age, workplace or home, and the actual application. The way to think about it could almost be taking the technology for granted and using it as a stepping stone to see beyond it, to the people using it, and in which way. This is not always an easy task, when the technology never stops evolving. However, inventions are always done on the basis of something already in existance. The Multitouch interface is almost here now, in 2008. So what will happen in the following years? Will we go from firm surfaces to projected, lucid ones? Plastic paper surfaces? Glasses? Will the screen disappear completely by 2020? Will our own bodies be used as conductors for visible information?
Some things we are sure of today we will have tomorrow:
– MultiTouch screen interface
– Flexible Silicone Screens
– Wireless network access everywhere
– Intelligent Clothes
– Nanotech Medical Robots
– Everyday products built by Nanotechnology
– Several new virtual worlds (virtual business, stockmarkets, real estate, schools, universities, relationships will grow)
– Intelligent Robots
– Quantum computing
– Cheap space travel
..and a lot more which already are “mainstream concepts”. The interesting part for me is the way we will react to the development of these technologies, and how the generation of the new old will react to it and to which degree they will use it. Will they be pioneers the ubicomp future or will they be the excluded class citizens?
Food for thought. Take a look at phycisist Michio Kaku`s documentary giving a vision of the future :