Friday, May 11, 2012

Natural User Interfaces for the Television


When I started to work in the Interactive Industry, one of the persons that drew me towards natural user interfaces was Dale Herigstad and his work. His visionary speech and work for advance navigation systems for interactive television and screens was always inspiring.

At that time, Microsoft Surface or the Microsoft Kinect didn’t exist, and gesture recognition was just starting as a digital trend. Dale was working hard on interactive T.V. interfaces and natural user interfaces and gesture recognition concepts that lead to great applications and even movies like Minority report.

When I worked on the first Microsoft Surface version I had the opportunity to work on this field directly with a technology that allowed you recognize and extend user gestures to create complex natural user interactions. Although I must say is a hard thing to do, is rewarding to see that some of the work I did with my colleagues actually made it to the second generation of the device. 

More recently, I have been playing around with the Kinect sensor for Windows. Although I haven;t been able to do much on it, it obvious that it provides great capabilities for natural user interface application development. It will eventually allow us to control devices and applications with simple natural gestures, and on top of that, for a fairly cheap price.


Today I found out that Microsoft is about to bring a full Internet Explorer browsing experience to the Xbox 360 platform and they are also working on integrating it with the Kinect. In theory this will allow you to control not only T.V. but also Web navigation with voice and gestures, which is what reminded me of Dale’s work from years ago. For me, it means that something that was a concept, a theory, a vision 6 years ago, is now a reality.

I’m grateful and scared at the same time to be able to experience this evolution in such a short time. What do you think about it?

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